January 23, 2006

Lunch... pigging out.. OUT

Well, I have to admit.. I need a break from cooking, so while running errands today, we decided to treat ourselves to a lovely lunch out at our favorite truckstop.

Everyone knows you eat well where there are trucks parked outside, but in Italy it takes on new meaning!

La Zambra
, located on the road from Certaldo to Poggibonsi, is on the left. Usually one passes by before realizing it. DO NOT PASS BY!

Only open from breakfast through lunch, La Zambra is worth the stop anytime of the day.

Breakfast can be homemade crostata's, Italy's jam pie, or pastries. Walk around to the savory side for some incredible panini with their creative homemade breads. I like the pumpkin seed bread. The choice is amazing.

At lunch you can order from the blackboard and sit at one of the small tables or walk over to the left and enter the huge dining room.

They have three menu's:
A simple prezzo fisso menu, sort of a working mans lunch at 15 Euro, wine not included. Pasta, meat and a vegetable.

A large daily specials menu, piatti del giorno
which changes daily, we ordered from this.

And a traditional menu, with a large selection of cooked vegetables and salads too.

Today I had an antipasto of thin fried polenta strips with Pancetta

and then Maialino, suckling pig with roasted potatoes, they used an interesting spice mixture with the pig, a wonderful anice flavor. There is a traditional spice for pork, called Droghe Toscane

Got to keep documenting pork!

My husband had large pumpkin gnocchi, zucca gialla with a gorgonzola sauce, that melted in his mouth. Never got to mine! Followed by a chicken stew with cardoons. ( It was a capon, which is much fuller flavor than chicken, enhanced by the slow stewing)

So when we came home, I was craving some fresh fruit.

Winter for me is the best, I adore pears, apples and oranges, liquid sunshine, and the blood oranges have just come into season. Today I made a simple macedonia, fruit salad of pears and kiwi.

A light sprinkling of sugar brings out the juices of the fruit and cuts some of the acidity of the kiwi. Perfect winter symphony of flavors!

La Zambra
Via pisana, 130

Closed Sunday and Dinner.


  1. that looks trucking amazing!

  2. don't have a truck, but we can go!!!

  3. Diva,

    Once again you have left me with my mouth-watering ... I'm very jealous! But so happy that I visited and read your lovely account of your meal.


  4. Pancetta and Polenta! a perfect combination and at 15 Euros a bargain for a full- soup to nuts meal! I always get hungry when i read you.

  5. My best friend a Firenze is Gabriella Zambra. I won't have any trouble remembering the name of this place!

    Have you ever written anything about Italian eggs? Like, why they are so much giallo-er, and why my pasta turns out so much better with them than U.S. eggs? I have no idea...but I bet you do...;-)

  6. Venexiananana,
    Thanks for giving me a homework project!

    I always say internet is like going to school daily, always learning, homework and research.. fab!

    I have some subjects lined up to talk about.. sort of a Tuscan school. on setting up your pantry. Making your own vinegar, eggs.. for biscotti, the different flour!
    Sea salt.. oil!
    What makes Tuscan food Tuscan.

  7. Hey, Giuditta l'altra! Our local truckstop kind of places are cheaper-- some less fancy, though. I hate linoleum floors and TV on through the meal.
    I have another project for you for la festa della donna. Can you get into that?
    PS/ there is TV in the middle of my posting code!

  8. Ciao bella!
    Load TV is a bummer, at LA Zambra it is only in the bar section. The dining room is really rather formal, table cloths, nice napkins, stemware for wine and water.
    Used for business meeting for the locals, as well as a truck stop. So you will find jackets and ties as well as overalls on the people dining.

    I have already seen the Mimosa in bloom, even in this freezing cold we ae having.

    I never go out for the Festa della Donna.. did once and my girlfriend took me to a male strip show!!!

  9. Nah, you have to stay in for this one. I will email you.