Who cooks and eats here: Krista and Lorenzo Ricchi
Where: Florence, Italy
Rent or Own? Rent
Krista, an American lifestyle-travel-blogger-expat, lives with her Italian husband in a cozy yet elegant apartment in the Santa Croce neighborhood of Florence. Their kitchen is typical of European rentals; it sits flush against one wall of the living/dining room. However, there is a lot more style and functionality going on here than in most of the apartments I've rented in in the US!
The kitchen is efficiently set up, with just enough storage and a lovely open floor plan. One of the smarter aspects of many European kitchens (even rentals!) is that they have racked, open-bottomed shelving over the sink so that when you put your cups and dishware away after washing up, the clean water can simply drip right over the sink below. No need to dry these items; it's a dry rack/shelf in one. This is another clever detail seen here and yet I've never had a landlord in the States remotely consider this idea when I've brought it up.
The couple are avid coffee drinkers, and their setup reflects this. They have three different methods of brewing coffee: the classic Italian espresso Moka stovetop pot, a modern Nespresso machine (convenience! It's handy and stylish all over the world) and lastly, a drip coffee maker for the lazy Sunday when they feel like cuddling up next to a large mug of coffee. It's the little things, right? Details like this make visiting kitchens abroad so fascinating.
Krista and her husband cook extravagant meals here in this "average" kitchen. They had just wrapped up a four course meal starring wild boar the week before my visit and next up was a porcini mushroom fest. Their hawk-like focus on seasonality and the ridiculous bounty of delicious ingredients is typical in Italy. The combination is what makes eating there such a pleasure.
10 Questions for Krista (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
This is one of a series of rental kitchens for my husband and me, so we try to make it feel as much our own as possible. We both love collecting treasures, both vintage and new, and we personalize our space as much as possible by putting them on display. Our cooking is inspired by my husband's creative flair in the kitchen. We love taking trips to the Sant'Ambrogio market around the corner from our apartment, and try as much as possible to cook with local, seasonal products, which isn't hard to do in Italy!
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
I'm a big fan of open shelving (despite all the dusting), so I love the wooden shelves that we use as a bar, and the IKEA bookcases that we converted into a coffee bar. We're hedonists in the kitchen, and wine and coffee are a huge part of that.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
We spent an entire day cooking wild boar for a dinner party we had this fall. We marinated and stewed the wild boar meat, and used the sauce for a first course of pappardelle, with the wild boar as the second course. One friend brought tiramisu, another brought a bottle of Chianti, and it all made for some very happy foodies!
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
A large part of the would-be cupboard and counter space is taken up by the water heater. It's covered up to look like another cupboard at first glance, but it actually takes up most of the left side of the kitchen, and means that there has to be a single-bowl sink when there would be room for two. Little quirks like this are common in Italian apartments, and you learn to live around them. I figure it's a small price to pay for a kitchen with a dishwasher! They are a rare luxury in rental apartments here, so I was excited to finally have one!
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Being a rental we took it how we found it for the most part, but I would have used a different material for the counters because they stain easily.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
Our Nespresso machine and milk frother were splurges, even though we try to justify it by saying we'll drink less coffee out (which we don't). We just really love coffee, so we can never have too many ways to make it in our kitchen! Right now we have the Nespresso machine, a drip coffee maker, and a Moka pot. Next up is a Turkish coffee pot. Anyone going to Istanbul any time soon?
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Although I love a clean white kitchen, my dream kitchen has colorful tiling as a backsplash. Unfortunately that will have to wait until we become homeowners, but we may negotiate soon to get a refrigerator that doesn't need defrosting every two months.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
My cooking style is pretty hands-off, actually! I'm usually in charge of the garlic-peeling or wine-pouring while Lorenzo takes the lead. Sometimes I see a recipe that I just have to try and surprise him with dinner, but if he's home while I'm cooking it doesn't take long until it becomes a team effort. What can I say? Marry an Italian who loves to cook!
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
It's not an official tip, but from living in Italy I've learned to basically triple any olive oil measurements in American recipes. Lorenzo insists it's good for you, but in any case it makes everything taste amazing.
10. What are you cooking this week?
This week we're looking forward to making some hearty cold-weather food: carbonara, risotto with porcini mushrooms, and pumpkin soup.
For more from Krista, visit her blog → Alla Fiorentina
Resources of Note
- Pots and pans: Came with the rental apartment, except for a few we've collected along the way, mostly IKEA.
- Dishes and cups: Christmas gifts from family, and the espresso cups and tea cups are a mix of gifts, and various finds, mostly thrifted.
- Glasses: Wine glasses are a mix of IKEA and antique finds, scotch glasses are Jameson and Jack Daniel's, collected by my husband from years of bartending.
- Fridge: Hotpoint-Ariston
- Stove/oven: Franke
- Produce: Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, the local market around the corner from our apartment.
- Knick-knacks: Anthropologie. I brought them with me to have a little feel of home!
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