January 14, 2006

Market day- Saturday Castelfiorentino (FI)

One of the larger outdoor markets on Saturday, near my house in Certaldo, is held in Castelfiorentino, on the way to Empoli.

I enjoy this market a lot. They have it divided into two sections the food section, often with live chickens ducks and other feathered friends to be raised, and the home and clothing section.

The food side also has stands with fresh flowers, plants, small trees and seeds for planting; a Rosticceria, where they sell you the already cooked ( roasted or fried) foods to take home and reheat. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, often directly from the farmers.

Today we were really lucky as there were two stands of "foreign food" from Puglia and Sicily. That was a lot of fun!

Off to our favorite pastry/coffee shop DEI, for a cappucino ( they use Illy Coffee) and a chantilly cream filled doughnut ( chantilly cream is pasty cream lightened with whipped cream folded in).

Our energy restored, off to the other side of the village for housewares , clothing and fabric.
Even though the city is well supplied with stores, the weekly market brings in great discounts. We picked up some cushions for some chairs, new wooden spoons and cutting boards.

The market was packed, it is a great social moment for the locals and visiting tourists alike. The Passegiata, which is the Sunday Stroll, takes place after lunch to walk off the big meal of the day is similar.

Pedestrian traffic jams blocking the small sidewalks.Neighbors cathing up on local news, showing off newborn babies and new outfits. Take time, walk slowly yourself and take it all in.

As we were leaving already burdened down with shopping bags, we stopped at the cheese stand as we saw he was just cutting open a fresh form of 2 year old parmesan cheese.

The man was a master! Within moments, and with apparently no effort, he deftley marked and split the form, first into half, then halved again. Clients started to gather and place their orders.

Swiftly he cut wedges to order, usaully 1/2 pound pieces ( 500 grams), which will probably last until next Saturday. Most families would have pasta and lunch and dinner.. every day, and with parmesan on almost all sauces!

I noticed he also took off the heavier outside crust, which I like to save for soups.
As he was working, small chunks were being given for tastes to those waiting.
After weighing the cheese, other little chunks were put in as a gift!

It is always a pleasure to watch a master at work!
who knows haow many forms of parmesan he has sold in his lifetime?
I will ask the next time I am there... for I will go back to him!

More market shots!


  1. Wow - here in New York we usually consider ourselves pretty lucky as far as food stores and Greenmarkets are concerned, but obviously that's only because we're comparing ourselves to other US cities. Can I come live in your livingroom? I don't take up much space, but I do come with a husband and two cats. Ok, I'm going to stop looking at your pictures now, before I turn into the green-eyed monster.

  2. Going to a market here is like going to a live museum, packed with culture. I never stop learning, even when shopping!

    Do stop by when you are in the neighborhood!

  3. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Hello dear..we've just returned from a sagre festival in Certaldo-Alto, which was amazing. we had a lovely time!!!!!!!!! we are desperatly looking for the surname and adress of a wonderfull man named Moreno, who had a stand in the festival, and usualy can be found in a flowers shop in CASTELFIORENTINO. We would to thank him for the help he gave us, but we have no clue on how to look for him. Maybe you can help us somehow?

  4. I was also at the festval in certaldo!!!
    was fun!

    this saturday I am going to a new market.. for me.. in Pistoia, I will look for Moreno at the flower shop in Castelfiorentino..and get an address for you.

    Do you know which flower shop? there are only 2....

    Also did he have a stand in Certaldo.. or just there?

  5. Anonymous11:25 PM

    Thank you so much for your quick response.... Moreno had a stand (with his wife and sister) of his sister's products: panforte and honey from her resturant/caffe in Florence... I hope you had a chance to meet him, he was sooooo nice to us, without even speaking one word of engish! We have a present waiting to be sent.. and no adress.... If you do see him,
    please tell him it's Tal and Elad, looking for him, and we appreciate your help so much! thank you thank you thank you... and you live in a lovely place. We which we could leave everything and move in somewhere in that area...

  6. even easier!
    the restaurant is around the corner from my school in Florence!
    the Osteria is really shop where she sells foods including what she makes.

  7. Anonymous9:55 AM

    hey Diva,
    thanks.. how's it going with his sister/his shop...?