Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Panini of a Lifetime

That really is the caption of our 12-day trip to Italy. It almost makes me want to change this site to Panini Central. Almost.

We woke up around noon on Saturday, March 7 in Firenze. We strolled through the street markets buying scarves and ties and necklaces. And then we were ready for lunch. In my internet research I saw that one person said they the best sandwich of their life was in Florence. So of course, I wrote it down and mapped it out.

We walked past the Duomo in the center of town and turned down an alley that isn't marked on any map of Florence. And there it was. L'Antico Noè. (Which I just translated to "the ancient Noah")

When we arrived the line was a bit longer than it is in this picture. On the right wall there is a menu posted of 22 pre-made sandwiches but it seems that people in the know just custom order their own.

So I ordered sausage, spicy salami and provolone in Italian (salsiccia, salame piccante e provolone). Brit got the caprese (tomatoes and mozzeralla) but added spinach.

The first thing he does is slices off some pieces of sausage and puts it on the panini press. Then he grabs this huge chunk of salami and provolone and puts in a slicer, fresh made to order. He then slices a crusty piece of bread down the middle, assembles the sandwich, and put in the press for a good couple minutes. Here's what 2/3 of it looks like.

It was amazing! I've never tasted anything this fresh, this bursting with flavor. Just big, bold taste. It was obvious that the ingredients were local, and so fresh that you just can't get anything like it in the States.

It was so good we went back on Sunday. Only to find shut doors. It seems that a lot of stuff is closed in Italy on Sundays. I guess between football and Church who has time to work?

So Monday was our 4th and last day in Florence, and we had to make it count. Last chance. This time I added peperoni (red peppers) to my previous order, which took it to another level. Also, this day they had round bread. This truly was THE PANINO OF A LIFETIME.

So now you know where to go to get the best sandwich in the world.

L'Antico Noè
Volta di San Piero 6r
Tel. 055 234 0838
Closed Sun (and for several weeks in August)

How To Get There

Start at the SE corner of the Duomo and walk east down Oriuolo. San Piero isn't on any maps, so I've placed it in green on this custom map.

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