It just wouldn’t be a blog without…

…food.  Exquisite, tasty, fresh, wonderful Italian food.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t had lunch yet, maybe you should pop out and grab something before going any further in this blog.  Honestly, what kind of blog would this be if I didn’t highlight some of the best food finds (so far) here in Florence.

I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed with the food here.  It is after all, Italy.  I was raised in an Italian-Canadian family and have visited the south of Italy many times, but Florence seems to be a special feast for all the senses when it comes to food.  Food is taken very seriously here and I’m totally OK with that.

I’m very fortunate that literally right outside my apartment door is a small fruit and vegetable vendor.  I made a point to introduce myself and make sure I made friends with the owner as soon as I got settled in.  Everything is so fresh and right at my doorstep, what more could I ask for?  I’ll tell ya.  In the south of Italy right now there is an abundance of my favourite green leafy veggie, rapini.  Here in Florence, though, it’s difficult to find.  I even asked my doorstep vendor if she knew where I could get some.  She suggested I head over to the San Lorenzo Market and check there.  Happy, happy me that I did.  Not only did I find rapini, but I found the BIGGEST bunch of rapini that I have ever seen in my life.  I got the above bunch of rapini and 4 potatoes for 2.40 Euros.  Somehow, seeing this rapini made me feel like everything was going to be alllllright.

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Each day (when I’m not working of course) I wonder around the streets of Florence taking in the sights, smells and tastes it has to offer.  Yes, I am trying to pace myself.  I do have 48 or so weeks left here, so I want to make sure to experience it all, and still fit into my jeans at the end!  The attractive photo above of me stuffing my face shows the pure joy and deliciousness of a simple focaccia with mortadella.  Lunchtime for me is no longer boring salads and sitting at my desk.  I think this is a massive upgrade, don’t you?

The food highlight of my trip thus far has to be ribollita (top left).  A traditional and very delicious Tuscan soup made with vegetables and bread.  The director of the school I am working for was the one to introduce me to this simple but extraordinary dish.  It’s a type of soup that really fills you up and warms you up.  Really tastes like home and comforts every inch of you.  It’s basically a minestrone soup with pieces of bread that have soaked up all the broth.  If you’re one to appreciate dunking bread or crackers in soup, this dish is for you.  My goal is to sample as many versions of ribollita as I can while here.

I’ve also been lucky enough to find a restaurant called Yellow Bar near the Duomo that makes fresh pasta (bottom left).  The host even gives newcomers a glimpse into the kitchen where a Nonna-esque woman was busy rolling and cutting fresh pasta.  That plate of tagliolini was the best I’ve ever had in my life (please, please don’t show this blog to my Nonna)

Of course, the wine here is wonderful and the bread is something really special.  Now that I’ve settled in my studio in the historical center of Florence, I’ve been doing some cooking at home as well.  Fresh tomato salads, pasta, fried potatoes, soups, frittate, cheese, olives…etc etc.  I’m starting to feel really at home here, and I really think the food has something to do with it for sure.

As more time goes on, I’m sure I’ll be posting more about the food here, but if you know anything about me at all, you would have expected this.

There is one more Florentine specialty that I have been fortunate enough to try already, but I feel it deserves a blog entry of it’s own…that is how epic it was.  So stay tuned for that.  For now, I’ll just leave this picture of a mountain of gelato here (this one is for you Gee xo)

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Until the next blog, baci sempre.

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