June 26, 2005

Calcio in Costume.. or boys in tights

Originally uploaded by divinacucina.

Summer is a series of Celebrations..... and the heat is on!

The summer solstice came in full force, bringing record high heat!

June the 24th is St. John the Baptists day, Patron Sain of Florence, celebrated with a Renaissance parade, a game of Calcio in Costume, which is sort of a combination of rugby and soccer, but in full wool renaissance costumes. There are over 350 people in the parade, representing the old rulers of the city of Florence, to soldiers with metal armor and the four soccer teams, representing the four Quarters of the city, Santa Maria del fiore ( the Duomo), Santa Spirito ( oltrarno) Santa Maria Novella ( the train station) and Santa Croce.

In the countryside, the fireflies are out, and today the cicale, (locusts) have started their song, a true sign that summer is here. In Marcialla, the small village near Certaldo where I live, has the Music festival, the village sets up a restaurant in the piazza with incredlibly thin crust pizza's and other menu items.. and the concerts are after dinner. Free... just come to the Piazza and hang out!
Music varied from the local music school recital to the crazy Banda Bandaccia, of creative hand-made instruments and wildness abounds in the playing! Tonight is Brazilian and there will be dancing in the streets!!!

From my window in Florence I know that summer is here as the color palate of the market has changed from green to red.

Tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers the red onions from Tropea, all calling out to me!

Teaching cooking in the summer is hard, as the season tends to require cold foods, salads and lots of fruit.

But, man does not live by salad alone.

I am trying to not use the oven, which is easy as most Florentines do stove top roasting, and really don’t cook many sweets.

I love to prepare more southern style foods now, such as Caponata, the wonderful Sicilian vegetable stew, with it’s sweet and sour flavor it is great served room temperature or even chilled. In Florence we make a simpler version, using only peppers and onions, called Peperonata.

Yesteday in the market, I spotted the MOST beautiful apricots, that were so small and looked as if they had just been picked off the tree. Incredible flavor.
I am going back to get several kilo’s and will make some jam as well as bake some.

My favorite recipe is for peaches or apricots, but I have also done pears!
A perfect example of the simplicity of tuscan cooking!

Oven roasted Apricots

Open the fruit and remove the pit.

Make a filling of crushed amaretti cookies, softened butter and cocao powder.
Form small balls and press into the fruit.

Bake until the fruit is hot, about 20 minutes in a preheated oven (350)

Serve room temp or chilled with ice cream


  1. Nice costumes here! Actually I am looking for some Indian costumes. I am crazy about traditional Indian stuff, So I am collecting some designs. Please share some Indian stuff for me.

  2. Great recipe! Especially for our tasteless "plastic" apricots.....
    I think, I'll use only cookies without cacao.