Tripe, for hipsters

Forget the white slimy stuff you may have seen your grandad eat; Florentine tripe is brown, meaty and surprisingly tasty. (Supplied)

Forget the white slimy stuff you may have seen your grandad eat; Florentine tripe is brown, meaty and surprisingly tasty. (Supplied)

What did Michelangelo eat for lunch? It’s a good bet that, as an apprentice in 15th-century Florence, he would have snacked on typical workman’s food, lampredotto (tripe).

Generations of Florentines have filled their bellies with cheap and nutritious lampredotto rolls from chioschi (street carts) all over the city, but they probably never dreamed this would one day become a hipster snack.

Forget the white slimy stuff you may have seen your grandad eat; Florentine tripe is brown, meaty and surprisingly tasty. And in recent financial crises, this fine wallet-friendly fare has had locals and ­visitors reverting to tripe, as it were.

Made from a cow’s fourth stomach – the abomasum – lampredotto is slowly simmered with tomato, onion and celery.
Follow the scent of ­fragrant broth to a lampredottaio (Sergio Pollini’s cart at the corner of Via dei Macci and Piazza Sant’Ambrogio is a good choice), choose to have your bread bagnato (wet – dipped in the broth) or not, add salsa verde or chilli oil, and enjoy.

Tripe rolls are now so popular that Florence’s high-end establishments have got in on the act. This year the luxury Four Seasons hotel added an “interactive lampredotto station” to its Sunday brunch offering, and says this is now one of its most sought-after options.

And the fashionable Rivalta Cafe, top spot for sundowners overlooking the Arno, offers lampredotto on selected evenings. Award-winning barwoman Rachele Giglioni has even created a cocktail to match it. Based on the negroni, but with added chianti, it’s called a Principe Corsini – a great marriage, she says, between nobility and humble tripe.

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