A little chilly from the brisk tramontana winds
coming down from the north,
wind blows away the clouds
and Florence was shiny bright today!
As I left my house in the countryside, I spotted these violets
already standing up tall, in my front yard.
Spring is really early this year.
It scares me!
I am excited about my new walking tours with lunch,
as it gives me more time to share my Florence,
little hidden away places, wine bars, gelato, bakeries,
not to mention my favorite kitchen shops,
ceramics and leather.
Seeing a city with a friend
is the way
to really get to know a town.
My dream out of high school was to have a best friend in
all of the capitals of the world
so I could stay with friends everywhere.
No such luck.
But here I am,
living in Florence,
one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Capital of art, food and wine.
I believe that you learn the most about the culture through food, the markets, street food,
and how much time and money people spend on eating.
So touring the markets and shops of the city give you a great insight.
Each time I meet someone, I try to add something special to my tours.
For the brave that may be a tripe sandwich
for someone else finding a special wine as a gift.
Today we began by stopping by Trattoria Mario's
to check in on Chef Jonathan,
who has spent the week observing.
Today he cooked for the boys!
Jonathan and Romeo
Then began the day with the perfect cappuccino and pastry at Sieni's.
Never tour on an empty stomach!
In the San Lorenzo market, my friends do an all-out balsamic vinegar tasting,
taking us from 12 year old traditional
followed by a 15 year old,
then a 20 year old, only aged in cherry wood,
ending with a 30 year old!
(which would be given as part of a dowery to a young bride, appropriate for the occassion.)
On to extra virgin olive oils.... smooth and grassy or peppery?
We were threatening to kill our appetite for lunch so off to walk more.
Touring the historic market is like being in a still life painting
My honey-mooner's today went wild over the assortment available of salad greens
It is no wonder all the food here tastes better.
The ingredients are better.
As we neared the fish market,
I spotted my new best friend
THE SUSHI MAN
my friend Massimiliano has invited his friend , Ex owner of Domani restaurant
to make and sell sushi in the market
Wednesday and Saturday
Look for these guys!
10 euro for a box of the FRESHEST sushi you have ever had!
We ate it standing at the counter.
All that touring built up our appetites,
check out lunch!
We had Chef Jonathan join us to eat at Sergio's,
as we wanted to eat Florentine steak,
about 2,2 pounds of beef, a kilo.
While the steak was cooking, we ordered cannelloni,
a ragu-filled pasta roll,
topped with a creamy bechamel sauce and baked.
Like what grandma would make for Sunday lunch,
rigatoni with ragu,
almost all meat with hardly any tomato sauce.
When we ordered our steak,
I asked for a 1,200 kilo steak, a little larger than the 2 pounder.
The waitress looked at me stupified, " That is the size for two people!"
You tell me!
Antonio serving the steak for two... for four!
We almost couldn't eat it all,
but we did.
There is always room for dessert!
Off to Grom, one of my favorite gelato shops
I talked the bride into hot chocolate with whipped cream, a seasonal specialty.
The groom had expresso ice cream, the coffee was from Guatemala
paired with almond ice cream, almonds from Provence.
( if you are in NY run, don't walk to their NY branch)
A marriage made in heaven.
Like a Sicilian breakfast, coffee granita with almond granita.