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Just inside the city limits of the foothills of Florence, one finds this unique trattoria (informal Italian restaurant) run by chef-owner Benedetta Vitali. The 14C bus will drop you off practically right in front of the restaurant which is right off the Piazza di Carregi. The latter piece of advice actually came from Benedetta herself after I emailed her telling her that most likely we would not be visiting her restaurant, as I was told that the taxi ride cost over 50 euro round trip.

From the outside, Zibbibo looks like the front of an every day bar, but step inside, and it becomes a very beautiful dining area overlooking the Tuscan landscape. Benedetta, herself, will lead you to your table, explain the menu and even serve you many of the dishes. She runs a cooking school out of the same kitchen. Each dish is made to order, so be prepared for long pauses to reflect on the goodness of the dish that you had just eaten.

We told Benedetta that we were celebrating Alex’s college graduation, and at the same time, Alex asked to be surprised, so Benedetta picked out eachcourse that he ate, and he loved them all. Admittedly, they became better and better as the evening progressed. In Italy, you have an appetizer (antipasto), then a first course, primi patti, and then a second course (secundo patti), a side dish such as a vegetable (contorno), and if you have space in your stomach, dolce (dessert) and cafe or coffee.

Alex loved his octopus appetizer and black ink pappardelle with squid. He has been emailing all of his friends about it. Wayne and I shared a gluten free spaghetti dish of fresh sardines pictured here). It was very delicious and I plan on trying my hand at this dish when I get home. Benedetta was supposed to share the recipe, but the restaurant became busy as we left, and we both inadvertently forgot about the promise. From what I could discern myself, this dish is a savory mixture of sardines, olive oil, pine nuts, sultana raisins, and just a hint of fresh fennel.

Unfortunately, Benedetta said that she was out of gluten free bread, and admittedly, I was disappointed. I have not encountered any gluten free Italian bread since arriving in Italy just one week ago. Most servers are quite familiar with “gluten free” pasta (pasta senza glutino), but the bread is hard to come by. We are now in Rome and I remain optimistic that I may finally get to taste gluten free bread in Italy.

I was thinking about emailing Benedetta for the sardine recipe, but better yet, I do believe that I will take the creative approach and try my hand at it with my own personal improvisations. Recipe to follow on this blog.