October 6, 2006

Another tough day at the market

Here is a little glimpse of a day with me...

We start the day by touring the neighborhood, first stop DiVino the new vino sfuso shop, where you have your bottles filled with fabulous wines for about 1,30 Euro a bottle for table wine to 5 euro for a Brunello.

Never shop on an empty stomach so first snacks with Benita or off to Sieni pastry shop for cappuccino and sweets. Then off to the market, great ingredients make a great meal.

We begin by tasting and building up our Tuscan Palate.

Olive oil, traditional Balsamic Vinegar (ok not tuscan but I use it)
12 year old, 20 year old aged only in cherry wood, 30, 50 and 80! YIPES... for some lucky Italian girl that is a dowery. When you realize what goes into making balsamic vinegar, and the concentrated flavor and BAM it gives the food, it is worth every penny.Of course here a 12 year old balsamic is only 45 Euro instead of 95 to 125 $US, there is the 30 year old Patriarch that sells for 85 euro I saw it online for $499 plus tax.

Almost worth flying over off season to shop once a year!

cheese tastings:

The rich nutty 4 year old parmesan cheese made by my friend Gianpiero Bonat and his family with their 200 cows, is 25 Euro a kilo. 2.2 pounds, drizzled with 25 year old balsamic vinegar.

Two week old pecorino cheese still so fresh it is creamy and a wonderful tang, made by Tillo of Corzano served with Pear Mostarda jelly.

There are still tomatoes, some of the seasons last green tomatoes which make a wonderful pasta sauce as well as ripe red ones still coming up from the south.

It is probably nicer weather now than it was in August, so we have a late summer with fall creeping in slowly.

The first porcini and white truffles nested next to long green aspargus. New red onions and freshly shelled beans.

Butchers calling us over to show their skills in breaking down a whole side of beef,
the Florentines are proud of their grass fed lean beef..and rightly so!
I was a vegetarian for 7 years and they converted me.

When you find such high quality ingredients, you really don;t need to do anything to them. As my mother-in-law Tina said wisely,

- Spend more time shopping and less time cooking!

Today at the market it was a tough choice, but the lovely artichokes won.

Our market menu was:

Handmade potato gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce, topped with Bonat's 4 year old Parmesan Riserva Cheese.

Roast Veal with Tuscan herb infused oil with chili and black pepper.

Stewed artichoke hearts with garlic and orange

Salami dolce, a chocolate dessert mom makes if she loves you!!!

I love you!

the recipe for salami dolce is on my site.

Grappa anyone?


  1. Judy -- Ciao! It's Amy, the knitting freak from Canada, just popping in to say hi! I've been reading your blog ever since we got home from our trip with Evan in April. You always make me hungry for more.

    If all goes well, I'll be back soon. The main yarn manufacturer trade show happens in Firenze -- who knew?

    Your tour was the best part of being in Florence, and I hope we get to see you again one day!

    Amy & Philly

  2. Thanks Amy!!!
    hope to see you again soon, have passed your site on to all my friends that knit too!!!

  3. Hi, Guru
    Can't wait to do this!! It will be a special moment in our adventure. A Presto

  4. you'll have to bring casey too!!

  5. Hi, Judy, I was in Firenze delivering daughter to her 6:30 AM flight, then photographing for my fashion article. I kept an eye out for you, but no Diva. I should have called, but it was a chaotic time. (and sad to see her go again)
    We must have another GTG for central Italy now that tourism has dropped... Jane needs to find ViVi.
    I love autumn, if only winter didn't follow. Peach jam making this afternoon. I'll make some with peperoncini and balsamic in honor of the diva.

  6. you can find me in the market Tuesday Wednesday and Thursdays usually after 11...
    peperonicno and balsamico... yum!

  7. If it is any good at all, I shall dress up a bottle for you.

  8. Hi, Judy, it was just about this time of year that I was there enjoying a day like this a few years back! I've sent several folks to shop and cook with you since then...this makes me wish I could be there right now!