Giovanna welcomes us with a tray of "spleen and jardiniere crostini," otherwise known as "crostini neri," here in Pistoia. This is an ancient recipe that our Cesarina offers at the opening of her Experience of Taste. These canapes, prepared with lightly toasted traditional Tuscan bread, are spread with a sauce of veal spleen, chicken livers, and capers. The result is an appetizer with a strong and indulgent flavor, the ideal start for a journey through the flavors of the local cuisine.
For the first course, our Cesarina serves pappardelle with hare stew, a dish evoking the flavors of the Apennine. The pappardelle, strips of egg pasta similar to the more well-known tagliatelle, are stuffed with traditional mountain game, with a rich and delicious result.
What has so far been a triumph of flavor is all but outdone by the second course. Giovanna serves Florentine tripe, never to be missed on Tuscan tables: offal fried gently with carrots, onions, and celery. The side dish is another Tuscan classic: beans "all'uccelletto," a plate of legumes simmered at low heat and served with a tomato-based sauce.
The dessert, finally, Giovanna's pride and joy. To bring the Taste Experience to a close, our Cesarina serves crispy cookies "del confortino," moistened with a touch of Vin Santo to enrich the flavor.