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7 Bars For Tuscan Wine Tasting in Florence

If you are wine lovers, Florence is your destination. And, not only because it is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, with one of the most celebrated DOs in the world and their flagship chianti, but because it is packed with wine bars where you can indulge in culinary specialities paired with a huge variety of great wines that can be ordered by the glass. What a treat and, on a reasonable budget – here you will taste and discover the wine treasures of the region and the country.

La Volpi e l’Uva

This tiny wine bar, owned by three Florentines, is a veritable benchmark, ideal for those wishing to avoid the more popular establishments. At the bar counter or on their magnificent terrace, a stone’s throw from the emblematic Ponte Vecchio, you can savour wine by the glass, with over 45 different signature Italian reds and French whites from small local wineries, most of them biodynamic and organic. A luxury which costs from €4.5 to €9 and includes pairings with tasting dishes from a menu of top-quality specialties from the Florence area ­–cured meat (mortadella, salami, ham), cheese served on delicious, dry schiacciata bread and crostini (toast). And, if you fall for any particular wine, you’ve hit the jackpot, as La Volpa et L’Uva is also a wine shop. You can take advice from Ricardo, one of the very friendly owners, who will passionately recommend the ideal bottle from over 1,000 signature wines lining the walls.

Fuori Porta

This huge yet congenial wine bar and restaurant, located next to the San Miniato Gate, is descended upon every day by crowds of loyal regulars. This is a must-visit tasting venue when you’re in Florence. Here you can forget about pizza and pasta; the cuisine is simple but delicious, based on gourmet sandwiches, bruschettas (toasted bread rubbed with garlic and oil), meat, salads, pinchos and cheese-and-cured meat boards. Wine is the undisputed leading light of this restaurant, with a choice of over 500 wines to enjoy by the glass – quite a sizeable figure! You will soon discover the variety of Tuscan wines, as well as the other Italian DOs. And, as if that weren’t enough, they renew their menu about five times a year, and you can also buy takeaway wine by the bottle – a must-have souvenir.

Pitti Gola e Cantina

If you are bold enough to ask for the wine list, you will be amazed, as it can hardly fit on the table. This establishment is essential if you think of yourself as a genuine wine lover as it holds veritable gems in its cellar, including labels that go back to 1950! Prices can sting a little, though (from €6.60 a glass), but it is worthwhile if you want to discover the grands crus of Tuscany and Piedmont in particular, and the rest of the peninsula in general, noteworthy for its traditional wines based on local vinestocks. The staff are young and highly motivated and are bound to recommend some superb tasting. They offer an exquisite menu of Italian delicacies to go with it – pasta, lasagna, select meats… You will also be able to soak up the atmosphere while seated on their terrace, located on the majestic Piazza Pitti.

Fratelli Zanobini

A small shop in the heart of the San Lorenzo district which carries both Tuscan wines (accounting for half their stock) and Italian varieties in general, with nearly 500 different labels, in addition to liqueurs and sparkling wines. The store has been open for 44 years and has accrued viticultural knowledge from one generation to the next. Tastings can be ordered at the small tasting counter, which thousands of wine lovers have already homed in on. But, there is not much to nibble on, so best to go there on a full stomach. They also have six house wines.

Casa del vino

Nothing seems to have changed in this wine house since it first opened around the year 1900. In fact, seen from the outside, it actually looks more like an antiques shop, with its marble bar counter, glass cabinets and wooden furniture plastered with black-and-white photos and the odd wooden wine crate covered in dust. The establishment has remained in the same family throughout and decribes itself as a tavern where you can have a glass of red wine from Tuscany, Piedmont or Sicily standing up at any time of the day, while getting stuck into some fresh panini and cured meat. They are also known for stocking some of the best champagnes in town.

Bevo Vino

It has very cosy decor, with a few tables and very young, cool customers. Here, bon vivants can choose from 30 Italian wines served by the glass while munching on some excellent panini or the house menu, made up of meat and pasta dishes crafted from the purest Italian recipe book. Drinks are served generously by a very obliging staff. Average price around €12 for a drink and something to eat, or just €5 if you’ve only turned up for a toast. Via San Niccolò 59R, Monday to Sunday, from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m.


Right next door to the stunning Duomo, Coquinarius is the closest you’ll get to a bistro. The front is a wine bar, with a restaurant at the back. The aroma wafting out of the kitchen is mouth-watering. Here you can savour an in-season menu, featuring bruschettas,meat and fish dishes as the highlights. Special mention goes to the salads, with unusual ingredients yet exquisite; notably, dried tomatoes, aubergines, sunflower seeds, courgette flowers and pear. This elegant wine bar offers a large variety of mostly Italian wines, as well as the odd label from more unique sources – Argentina, Austria, Chile or California. Wine by the glass or bottle.

Book your Vueling to Florence and get ready to taste the wines of Tuscany.

Text and photos by Laia Zieger of Gastronomistas.com


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5 Charming Terraces on the Alsace Wine Route

The Alsace Wine Route is speckled with numerous wine cellars where you can taste the famed wines of this French region. And, if you’re travelling with family, friends or your partner, you can opt to discover the world of winemaking through a series of leisure activities in a number of delightful towns and villages, some of them regarded as among the most beautiful in France. You will also come across an endless array of restaurants, from Michelin-starred establishments to the typical winstubs, a kind of bistro offering traditional cuisine from locally sourced products in a relaxed setting. And, seated at a terrace café, to wit. Take note of these venues, which we can highly recommend.

La Nouvelle Auberge
This former post office is located between the cities of Colmar and Munster. The ground floor features a bistro offering market cuisine at moderate prices. The first floor is given over to an acclaimed, award-winning gourmet restaurant, with the subtle creations of a chef who combines cutting-edge technique with simple Alsatian recipes, conditioned solely by seasonality and in line with the slow-food movement, of which La Nouvelle Auberge is a member. They offer four tasting menus with different dishes every day, depending on what the freshest produce from local producers happens to be. Some of their specialities include snail soup with garlic and parsley, oxtail consommé, smoked river fish fillet in red wine sauce and snail paté on toast, all paired with local wines. The interior design is that of a traditional, half-timbered Alsatian home, while the establishment boasts a pleasant, quiet, shady terrace set in natural surroundings.

Avenue 294
A comfortable, inviting establishment with refined decor where the chef crafts new suggestions every day, over and above a menu which is both contemporary and traditionally inspired. Special mention goes to the homemade desserts – watch out for the seasonal fruit tarts – and their wine list, extensive and with acclaimed local wines. As soon as the morning sun peeps through, they open a terrace behind the lovely red house that is Avenue 294. They have comfortable easy chairs and a plant-fringed area suited to having a last drink, for example. Pleasant ambient music accompanies the experience. A gourmet venue in a perfect setting you won’t want to leave.

Hôtel Beauséjour
A five minutes’ walk from the centre of the picturesque city that is Colmar – also known as “Little Venice” for its canals – you can relax in the garden-terrace of this establishment, owned by the Keller family, the fifth generation of restaurateurs. Their cuisine, based on seasonal products, is refined and very Alsatian, as evinced in the homemade foie gras with Gewürztraminer wine gelatine, or their organic five-meat sauerkraut. However, the standout feature of this restaurant-hotel is the interior patio, sited in a garden full of trees and flowers, totally cut off from the rest of the city.

Wistub Brenner
A genuine old-time Alsatian winstub located in the heart of Colmar. They offer the authentic – most compelling – local dishes, including sauerkraut, onion tart, Munster cheese salad and duck magret, cream cheese and potatoes and beef tripe with Riesling. We loved their beautiful, flower-filled urban terrace where you needn’t hesitate to spend a long after-meal sipping those fabulous white wines from Alsace, served in glasses with a green foot.

Le Cerf
Marlenheim, the first town you come to on the Alsace Wine Route if you start off from Strasbourg, has some great wine cellars and a great restaurant – Le Cerf. This establishment, which doubles as a hotel, has been run by the Husser family since 1930. It combines rustic interior design with avant-garde cuisine, which has earned it a Michelin star. Theirs is top-drawer cuisine, featuring regional dishes crafted using contemporary techniques, attested by the likes of sauerkraut or bouchées à la reine (stuffed vol-au-vent), and such international dishes as ravioli au foie gras or oxtail sashimi ramen, served up amid surrounding vineyards. Their terrace is a central patio where local red geraniums lend a touch of charm.

Book your Vueling to Basel, an hour and a half from the start of the Alsace Wine Route, and be sure to soak up the views in some of these magnificent terraces while tasting their delicious cuisine.

Text by Laia Zieger de Gastronomistas


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