Golossary: Peposo dell’Impruneta

Peposo traditional Florentine beef stew

Legend has it that this peppery beef stew was invented by the great Brunelleschi, the architect who constructed Florence’s iconic duomo (cathedral dome) as well as many other noted works. Needless to say, many workers were needed to build the large dome, and they spent the day high-up on scaffolding. Not unlike the google of his day, Brunelleschi realized, if he hoisted large pots of lunch up top and kept the workers well fed, he could maximize efficiency. In a smart move, he began to put large pots of beef into the oven where the ceramic tiles for the dome were being fired (efficiency again!) The ovens, or kilns, were in the nearby city of Impruneta, a town still famous for the production of roof tiles, as well as for Peposo dell’Impruneta. The beef cooked in the heat of the oven from firing the tiles; and as was fairly customary in the period, lots of black pepper was used to cover the taste of any off meat and since this was before refrigeration, meat had a tendency to go bad. The stew, like the duomo, has withstood the test of time, and you see it in and around Florence, still with a hefty dose of black pepper.

Recommended: Vin’ Andro restaurant in Fiesole has a notably black-pepper laden Peposo dell’Impruneta.

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