A New American Brunch Spot in Florence

Eggs Benedict served Florentine Style, photo by Bianca Lucero

Hotel Helvetia&Bristol, via dei Pescioni 2, Florence. Sunday from 11.30 am to 3.30 pm.

In recent years, brunch has become an important part of the Florence food scene, with more and more American-style venues appearing across the city offering alternatives to the traditional cappuccino and croissant colazione.

Florence’s latest contributor to this brunch phenomenon is Hotel Helvetia&Bristol. This 19th century palazzo stands elegantly in the heart one of the city’s most prestigious areas between Piazza della Repubblica and Via Tournabuoni.

Every Sunday until December 17, the hotel will serve an American-style brunch presented in its typical sophisticated fashion. Open to the public as well as hotel guests, this is an initiative that aims to bring together the local community – Florentines, expats and tourists.

“It’s the perfect mix,” says Alessandro Pinna, head of marketing for Star Hotels. “A true American brunch but with key Tuscan elements.”  A cornucopia of American brunch favourites takes centre stage on a large table with pancakes (served with real maple syrup), waffles and crispy bacon, while another table features traditional salami, meatballs, focaccia, pecorino cheese and pappa al pomodoro (a typical Tuscan bread and tomato soup).

Mini jars of Nutella, honeycomb and even a chocolate fountain (complete with meringues, marshmallows and cookies) give this brunch buffet a little something extra. There are healthier options too, such as fruit salad and yoghurt, and other American touches like bagels and New York cheesecake. Without cream cheese or the option of being toasted, these bagels might not satisfy expats and tourists, and the cheesecake, with a non-traditional fruit glaze, does not quite live up to the original. The freshly-squeezed orange juice, however, beats most others found in the city.

Eggs, of course, are another key feature of this Italian-American brunch.  The chef created a cross between Eggs Florentine and Eggs Benedict, poaching eggs to order at his station served with an English muffin and a bed of fresh spinach, topped by Hollandaise sauce, perfectly reflecting the Tuscan-American theme.  Scrambled eggs are also served.

This is a special brunch experience in a special setting. The Giardino d’Inverno captures the elegance of the 5-star hotel, perfect for special occasions or a Sunday treat. Served between 11.30 am and 3.30 pm, the cost for this all-you-can-eat buffet is €38 per person. The price includes freshly squeezed orange juice, American coffee (with refills), tea and water. Wine, prosecco and champagne are offered at an extra cost. Children up to 6 eat for free. (poppy jackson)