It’s hard to imagine driving for a half-hour to 45 minutes to climb to a high mountain pass just to eat a sandwich, but people do. Lots of them! Consuma is one of the local food pilgrimages for the Florentines. You go there to eat schiacciata. And eat you do!
Bar Consumi is just the sort of truck stop cafeteria you might expect to find in the mountains between two major cities. The front room has a large U shaped bar and deli counter. Take a number and wait your turn. Hefty slabs of schiacciata come out from the kitchen, plain and stuffed full of prosciutto crudo, prosciutto cotto (ham), porcini mushrooms, or some combination thereof. The porcini come from the surrounding hills and forests that you passed through to get here, and they are why you came. Point to what you want, and indicate how much you want as ladies behind the counter slice off schiacciata to serve. They will weigh your order and hand you your receipt. Go to the bar to pay, and while you’re there pay the few euro it takes for a glass of the bulk wine; that too is from the local hills, and it is Chianti Rufina. It isn’t fancy, but it goes down easy and it is a nice accompaniment to your sandwich. While you’re at it, try one of the homemade chocolates. The chocolate ganache is rich creamy bittersweet chocolate, every bit as good, and often better, than what you’ll get in a luxurious chocolate shop in the city.
Take your tray and make your way to the dining room in back, (or sit outside if it’s nice.) Make sure to grab napkins on your way. Lots of them! You will need it. These are preserved porcini, and the schiacciata is going to sop up all their juice and oil. Select a table and sit down to eat. Others around you will be feasting on their own schiacciata sandwiches; some of them with sacks of schiacciata to bring home. The flimsy paper napkins are hardly up to their task and tables are littered with them. You’ll probably want to wash your hands when you’re done, but like many truck stops, the bathrooms can be a mess. Don’t let that detract from the experience. You just had a taste of something most tourists will never have, a real local experience, and something that the locals will travel for.
Get It!: Schiacciata con Porcini (Schiacciata with Porcini), local Chianti Ruffina,
Signature Dish: Schiacciata , Schiacciata con Porcini (Schiacciata with Porcini)
Bar Consumi. Via Casentinese, 307, Consuma. www.barconsumi.it; tel: 055 8306507.