In Florence, panini are kings of street food, usually sold in small vending places that don’t have much more than a counter. Each place uses it’s own kind of bread and has its own special combinations of ingredients that give them their identity, the panini are traditionally accompanied by a small glass of wine.
Semel is a small panini selling place located just across Sant’Ambrogio market that is only open during lunch times. These are very particular in terms of combinations, you can find panini made with wild rabbit, donkey, pork, deer, wild boar,duck, anchovies,octopus, tuna, or even codfish, all of these paired with particular and amazingly flatering combinations of sauces and vegetables.
I have to say that donkey I refuse to include in my diet, they are such gentle animals (not that the others are not) and also, nowadays, in Portugal we tend to promote their protection instead.
I ended up chosing a tuna panino with artichokes and mustard salsa that was heavenly. You really can understand the craft that they put in these, when you taste the perfectly balanced ingredients and pairings inside that crunchy warm bread.
What can I say, I really recommend you to give this panino a go if you are visiting Florence. The price of a sandwich is around 4 euros (which is not exactly cheap), but one must recognise that it is a fair price for the quality of ingredients that you are getting. At the entrance there is a chalk board that says “Taste the best panino italiano in the world”, I don’t know about that, all I know is that I can’t wait to return.
Piazza Ghiberti. 44r, Florence
Monday to Saturday from 11:30-3:30.