By Riccardo Schiaffino
Some people say that the only thing Italians take seriously is food, but that is clearly not so: we also are very serious about coffee.
Italians give so much importance to food that grown men, who all their life were always served delicious plates lovingly cooked by their mammas and nonnas, when they find themselves stranded abroad and forced to choose such unpalatable options as local food or those poor imitations of Italian cooking served in fake “Italian” restaurants (scare quotes entirely intentional) soon learn for themselves how to cook and even how to bake.
So, you can understand how important it is for an Italian to find a good Italian restaurant where they live.
Fortunately, here in Denver we have some good options, and an excellent 2-in-1 combo, because Simone Parisi – not content with the success of his eponymous casual restaurant and pizzeria – added a second restaurant downstairs in the same building: Firenze a Tavola.
Firenze a Tavola offers real Tuscan food: delicious primi of pasta or rice, mouth-watering secondi, a variety of home-style sides and desserts, and a well-stocked wine selection.
“The first thing I teach my cooks is that they should salt the water for the pasta,” says Mario Petit, Firenze a Tavola’s chef.
Salting the water in which pasta is cooked may be something that Italians would consider a given… but that is apparently not true in many ersatz Italian restaurants.
Mario will prepare an attractive menu for the CTA holiday dinner, with a selection of antipasti, salads and main courses, including tasty vegetarian choices such as risotto ai funghi porcini, and a classic Italian dessert.
Firenze a Tavola is famous for its themed dinners centered around food from a particular region of Italy, or a specific season. For these special dinners the restaurant is particularly distinctive and cozy, with everybody served family style, just like a dinner among friends in the Tuscan hills, where everybody sits at the same big table and shares in the abundance of food and in the animated general conversation. I believe this is how they’ll serve us: as a big family of translators.