The typical dish of San Giovanni Valdarno is the “Stufato (stew) alla Sangiovannese” that has recently obtained the mark of uniqueness and typicality. Its origins can be dated back to the beginning of this century among some factories, like the Ferriera, the Ceramica, the Fornaci Bagiardi, where some workers, particularly greedy and able in cooking, sometimes cooked the stew mainly with the animals entrails (such as lung, bowels etc.).
One of these workers was recruited in the army in 1915 and sent to Libya, where he was the chef of the regiment for his disposition and passion. Here he discovered spices and especially learnt to cook great quantities of food. When he came back home he jealously preserved his discoveries and began to apply these firstly at home, then at the Ferriera and finally in the rooms of the Basilica, where he began to cook the stew that from that moment was called “Stufato alla Sangiovannese” because here only was made with new ingredients and especially with the meat of the front legs of the adult calf, giving to the dish a different taste from the stew.
The secret was transmitted little by little from one chef of the Uffizi to the other (every Uffizio has his own chef), creating an out and out competition that has still preserved today, and then from house to house and in taverns and restaurants of the city. The original recipe remained related to the Uffizi and applied in this circumstance only.