Um, I mean, when in Florence…eat like a Florentine! Neither Pete nor I would call ourselves foodies but we do love tasting the local fare and cooking local dishes. Florence does not disappoint with excellent options and availability of delicious and fresh food.
Cooking and preparing our own food is big part of our journey as we travel for an extended period of time. This not only saves us money but it gives us a great opportunity to hang out at local markets and specialty stores, which is a very pleasant cultural experience in and of itself.
Italy is all about the local markets. We are very fortunate to have a couple of morning markets right around the corner from the little flat we are renting here-see Pete’s blog post. A wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies can be found, as well as cheeses like fresh mozzarella and parmesan. A number of Italian meats like pancetta (a lot like bacon) and Florentine salami are a few of the other offerings-it is an amazing place to shop for the day’s meals.
Right up the street from the markets is a little shop called a foccaccaria. It is a bakery of sorts where we can buy, surprisingly, focaccia (Italian flatbread)! And so much more. Other breads, pastries and so many delicious Italian cookies were behind the long counter. Meats, fish and fresh pastas could also be purchased. I’m working myself up to try the tripe, but for now am sticking with almond biscotti (twice baked cookies) and fresh raviolis.
One of the great things about this place was that even though we were packed in there like sardines, it felt very jovial. It was clearly a meeting place for the community, as people walking in struck up familiar conversations with people already there. This was not a fast process, also. It took about 20 minutes to make a purchase. Luckily we were not in a hurry and enjoyed the hubbub.
Another gathering place is the coffee bars. Oh, the coffee bars! Stand at the bar and drink down your espresso or cappuccino quickly. Or sit down at a table (it may cost more) and stay all day. Whatever your choice, the coffees are so so so good. Anytime we go out now, it is a given to stop at a ‘bar’. There seems to be one around every corner.
My new favorite is the caffe corretto. It is a shot of espresso ‘corrected’ with a shot of alcohol. Just sayin…
Check out this simple lunch I made. It’s a traditional Caprese Salad with spiral noodles added to make it the main meal.
The ingredients are fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes, spiral pasta, olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of oregano. Boil the noodles to taste and cool under cold water. Toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat the noodles. Add spices and then other ingredients chopped in bite sized pieces. Super easy and super delicious!
This meal cost us just a few Euros to make. It was also a fun cultural experience visiting the markets and shops to find ingredients. Now, if we can just learn to eat it in the slow manner in which it was conceived 🙂