Bread with Pecorino, Honey and Orange Zest ~

Since SO many of my readers requested it, I’ll do a very brief summary of my trip to Italy. I think I will have to do a separate post about my cooking class with some recipes, since there’s too much to tell about that! 

Unfortunately, my family isn’t big on remembering to take photos (thank goodness Nate loves to!), so all the photos I have were taken with my iphone.

I began my trip in Florence, where I met up with my parents who had already been traveling for a week. Here’s the famous Duomo which was a short walk from our hotel.

Duomo, Florence, Italy ~

Sadly, I didn’t consume as much gelato as i would have liked because my stomach was bothering me for most of the trip…and I was too full after meals to get it. It’s pretty crazy how often you see people eating gelato, though, and at all times of the day!

I’m pretty sure there more gelato stores in italy than Starbucks are in the U.S., and that’s saying a lot since I love in NY where there’s practically a Starbucks on every corner. But in both Florence and Milan there were at least 2 places to get gelato on every single block. 

Florence is pretty small, so we could walk pretty much everywhere. The Ponte Vecchio was so close by that we ended up walking over there for shopping and dinner a couple times. 

Ponte Vecchio, Florence ~

As I mentioned in my other post, we took a day trip to Chianti where we had a private cooking class at the Ristorante Malborghetto with Chef Simone.

Here’s our first course. A juicy, grilled porcini with rosemary, garlic and truffle oil.

Cooking Class, Ristorante Malborghetto, Chianti ~

We also made the most amazing homemade gnocchi in bolognese. We made parmesan bowls to serve it. 

Cooking Class, Ristorante Malborghetto, Chianti ~

 Here’s my mom helping make the tiramisu.

Cooking Class, Ristorante Malborghetto, Chianti ~
Here’s my dad enjoying the finished product. 

Cooking Class, Ristorante Malborghetto, Chianti ~

On the way home from Chianti, we stopped at San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany. It was so so beautiful!

San Gimignano ~

We ended up doing a lot of walking while we were in Florence…we had to go up a bunch of steep staircases and hills to get to Basilica di San Miniato al Monte.Florence, Italy ~

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, Florence ~

But it was worth it because the view at the top was spectacular.

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte 2 ~ Elephant

Next up was Milan. The most beautiful Cathedral was near our hotel. The Duomo di Milano is a Gothic cathedral that took nearly six centuries to complete and was literally JUST finished, if you can believe it. It is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the Italian state territory.

Milan Duomo ~

We were told that the church needs money, hence the billboards on the scaffolding!

Milan Duomo ~

Milan has a bike share program just like the CitiBikes that were recently introduced in NYC. Europe is way ahead of the U.S.!

City Bikes, Milan ~ Elephant

One of the days that we were in Milan, we took a day trip to Lake Maggiore. The climate in the lake region is mild all year long, and so there’s the Alpinia botanical garden above the town of Stresa there.  

We visited it and it was gorgeous.

Botanical Gardens, Lake Maggiore ~

Alpinia botanical garden  ~ ElephantEats.comAlpinia botanical garden  ~

Alpinia botanical garden  ~

But anyway, back to the important stuff…the food!

My parents have been to Florence several times now, and this was my second time although I don’t remember the first too well. Anyway, my parents had apparently been to this one little cafe that they really wanted to find again because one of the things they had was this delicious bread with honeycomb, cheese and orange zest. We walked all around trying to find the place but couldn’t. Finally my mom remembered that she had sent an email to her friend with the restaurant name in it so we went back to the hotel just to get the info! Luckily after some searching we found the email and went immediatey back out to go there for lunch. 

cantinetta dei verrazzano, Florence ~

It was called Cantinetta Dei Verrazzano and I HIGHLY recommend that if you’re in Florence, you stop in for lunch or dinner. 

We split some meats and a salad but the highlight of the meal was when the server came to our table carrying a giant honeycomb! He put out plates with a small slice of a whole wheat bread, with a slice of some sort of Pecorino Romano cheese (i think). He then scraped the honeycomb with a spoon and put the delicious honey drippings on top of the cheese. And finally he zested an orange on top. The combination of flavors was incredible and I knew I had to recreate it at home so Nate could experience it!

Bread with Pecorino, Honey and Orange Zest 2 ~

This isn’t a recipe so much because honestly, there are no real amounts, but I thought I should introduce you all to this flavor combination that somehow I had never heard of before. It’s not so easy to find honeycomb around here, so I just used regular honey. I hope you’ll try this at home!

Bread with Pecorino, Honey and Orange Zest  ~

When I finally get a chance to recreate one of the dishes I made in my Italian cooking class, I’ll be back with a recipe for that :)

Bread with Pecorino, Honey and Orange Zest 2 ~


Bread with Pecorino, Honey and Orange Zest
An easy appetizer with the most amazing combination of flavors from Florence, Italy! I don't have any amounts because it really is up to you...
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  1. Whole Wheat bread, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  2. Pecorino (or other hard cheese), sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into pieces
  3. Honeycomb or honey
  4. Orange zest
  1. Place bread squares on a plate.
  2. Put a small square of cheese on each slice. Put a large dallop of honey on each and then zest orange on top.


  1. Amy, how am I suppose to comment on your recipe with the grandness of everything else in front of me?! ;-). Gorgeous photos from your trip… so nice to see your Mom and Dad here (lucky you being able to share a trip with them) and you know how I feel about San Gimignano… Greg and I will just have to return one day to celebrate a big anniversary :). How great that you got to take a cooking class! So jealous of that and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it when we were there (I guess I’m suppose to be thinking of other things during my honeymoon ;-)). There must be something magical about gelato….love the orange zest on your appies! Perfect in its simplicity.

    • Hehe, thanks, Kelly :) You definitely should go back to celebrate an anniversary…how fun that would be! If you do go back, I’ll have to give you info about the cooking class I took. It was incredible.

  2. Oh gosh, Amy, what a wonderful trip to take with your parents! I’m sorry your stomach was bothering you a bit but no worries, you’ll make up on the gelato consumption next time! I can’t believe there are that many gelato shops! I’m happy just thinking about that. The cooking class looks like a lot of fun and I do love some of the unusual (at least, to me) flavor combinations of the Italians. I’d love to try this appetizer and no quantities or “rules” works for me!

  3. Wow!! It looks soooo beautiful!! I would LOVE to go to Italy!! And the food looks delish too :)

  4. spectacular view… thanks for sharing.. wonderful trip

  5. I’m going to CRY, your trip to Italy looks so amazing. I. want to go. so. badly. now. (as if i didn’t really want to go before, riiiight.) :)
    and orange zest and honeycomb on bread? seriously, dangerous. because that’s just a very gorgeous and fancy take on one of my favorite things, which is marmalade on toast. add cheese. result: perfection.
    i’m so happy you loved your trip to Italy! of course, i suppose i’ve never heard of anyone coming back from there saying “eh…it was fine. no big deal. overrated.” ;)

    • Aw, don’t cry, Shannon! Hopefully you’ll get to go soon. Ooh, I love marmalade on toast- my mom always used to eat that when I was growing up and she got me hooked.

  6. I want it all. The Italian vacation and the bread/cheese deliciousness. *must find honeycomb

  7. I’ve totally never seen that flavor combo before, but I’m game for anything that involves cheese and honey! AND, lucky for me, I just bought this GIANT BLOCK OF PECORINO soooooooo, time to eat my way through it! Is it weird if I pack this for my lunch tomorrow? because it seems totally legit.

    Your trip looks AMAZINGGG and I am so jealous! The BF went to Italy back in high school and he talks about it nonstop… STILL. TO THIS DAY. hahaha! We are trying to find out if we can fanangle a honeymoon or something there.

    • I know, I hadn’t seen it either! It was so yummy though, please please try it :) It’s totally doable for lunch, except that you’ll have to bring the bottle of honey, otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess. oooh, I hope you guys get to honeymoon in Italy!!

  8. Such lovely pictures, the food, the nature, the scenery! I’m swooning at it all! This is definitely a trip that I hope to take one day, so thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Pamela! I wish I had some better pics but honestly, the weather was a bit dreary the whole time. Hope you get to go one day too!!! :)

  9. What a great trip! Thank you for sharing you pictures. I love living vicariously through other people’s trips. :) I’ve never heard of that flavor combination but it sounds amazing! I will have to try it out.

    • I know what you mean, Nicole. This flavor combo is so unexpected but SO def have to give it a try and let me know what you think!

  10. What a fab trip you had!! Love the photos and all I can think about is that honeycomb! Yum!

  11. Ahhhh how I wish I could be in Italy right now! Any chance you went to Gusta Pizza in Florence? I have never eaten better pizza in my entire life. I am salivating just thinking about it…and now I need to go look at flights!

    Love the recipe too :)

    • I know what you mean :) No, we didn’t go to that place but I’ll have to mark it down for next time! There are just so many good pizza and pasta places in Italy, it’s unbelievable.

  12. Sounds like you had a blast there Amy. Italy is beautiful! And the picture of your parents are so cute! I look forward to reading your cooking class post. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. I look forward to trying it out. Love the simplicity of it. :) xo

  13. oh my goodness, your trip just looks like my dream – i’m dying to go to florence, though i know i’d come back at least twice the size! and i’ll definitely be giving this bread recipe a go – i’m looking to branch out into making different types of bread, and i love the combination of flavours here :) great post!

    • Aw, i hope you do get to go soon, Holly! Haha, I’m kind of glad my stomach wasn’t feeling right or I’m sure I would have eaten my weight in fatty foods.

  14. Your trip looks like it was incredible–so jealous!

    This recipe looks great; the flavor combination sound amazing!

  15. consuelohoneyandfigs

    I’m so happy to know you had such an awesome trip. The pictures are gorgeous, by the way! I’m feeling a bit jealous now, because all that food looks awesome. And s does this bread, what a lovely combo! :)

    • Thanks, Consuelo :) The iphone takes pretty darn nice pics now! So nice to not have to take a bulky camera along when you just want to capture the memories.

  16. That first picture of you by the river, that’s RIGHT NEXT TO the apartment I lived in when I studied in Florence. :) I don’t know if you remember, but there was a big archway right across the street and a street that went uphill. That’s where I lived. :)

    • I know EXACTLY the street you mean! I told my parents I wanted to go up the steps to check it out but then realized it didn’t really go anywhere so I didn’t explore. So funny! What an amazing place to study abroad, you luckly girl ;)

  17. What an awesome trip! You are definitely making me wish I were back in Italy.

  18. wow, what a nice recap.
    the food in italy alone needs it’s own book.
    the pasta is so memorable, so fresh, so hard to find here in the US

  19. Love the pictures and really enjoyed looking at them since I have never been to Italy.:( SOme nice to get to spend such a special vacation with your parents!

  20. Your trip looks like it was AMAZING!!! I love Italy – sigh – and need to get back asap!

  21. I’m so glad you chose to share a little of your holiday because the images are stunning. I’m in love with all the ancient architecture and that honeycomb coming to the table to create such a simple dessert that’s so full of flavour must have been a terrific experience xx

  22. Your trip sounds amazing and I’m so glad you shared some of it!! I’ve never seen pecorino combined with honey in this savory-sweet way….but yum!

    • Thanks, Joanne :) You definitely should try this…i guess it could either be an appetizer or served after the meal, as it was when I had it. This savory/sweet combo is delicious, even though I usually don’t like it!

  23. Must. Be. Nice.

  24. Amy, I’m so jealous every time I read about someone’s trip to Italy. I’ve never been even though my parents are from Sicily!! I’m so glad you shared your trip as it allows me to “follow along” and dream!! Honestly, the food my father would eat really didn’t require a recipe, he would put together these simple small bites, like this bread with cheese and honey. Simply delicious! I have to try this out!

  25. awesome trip ! I always wanted to visit italy… beautiful pics… I ll try this recipe out for sure !! :)

  26. Amy it looks like you had so much fun in Italy! I am so jealous, I need to get there someday! In Chicago I tried this cheese stuffed bread with fresh honeycomb and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten! I need to try your idea- looks so simple, yet so delicious!

  27. I’m so jealous of your trip, looks like you had an amazing time!! I’ve never been to Italy (rather, Europe), and want to go so bad! Your honey/orange appetizer sounds delicious.

  28. Florence & San Gimignano & Milan all look gorgeous! The architecture in Italy is breathtaking. We nearly wanted to see Florence during our trip in Roma, but we’ve decided to stick around longer. The zest tool looks awesome, is it available on or anywhere?

    • San Gimignano was tiny, but I think the most beautiful…especially because right outside its walls were the Tuscan landscape. You can definitely find the zester online like here on amazon, but be careful using it because 2 years ago i sliced open my hand using it and it was a bloody mess. You can also find it in any home goods or kitchen store. I found mine at the supermarket i think!

  29. Love the sound of the combination of flavours of honey, orange and cheese. How unusual but I can just imagine how well they’d go together.

    It has been years since I visited Florence…I wish I could re-visit that beautiful city again, and I would totally do a cooking class too. The food looks amazing.

    • They really do go so well together…i hope you’ll try it! Taking the cooking class was definitely something I’ll remember forever :) Thanks, Trishie!

  30. What a marvelous trip!!! I adore Italy and I think we both need to go back…you to eat more gelato, and me, just because :)

  31. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to try the recipe when we return from our holiday.

  32. You have no idea how insanely jealous I am!! Italy is my dream vacation destination. It looks like you had a lot of fun :)

  33. WORRRRRRRRD. That cathedral is soooo huuuuuuge, wut up giant advertisement? I will now work on getting a giant slice of honeycomb into my kitchen, so that I can make this, or – let’s be honest – just sit around and gnaw on it.

    • hahaha, yeah, that cathedral was massive and it was so weird to see an ad on it! Please get some real honeycomb. I bet you keep bees out there in your wilderness heaven you live in :)

  34. I actually don’t, but I should give it a try. It’d be difficult out here, because if I were to keep bees, I’d love to be able to overwinter them, and up here, that’s really tough. Tough to keep those little guys alive when it gets so cold!

  35. I cannot believe that honeycomb, or that it came to your table, or how they served it! So awesome. I would have died.

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