Florence- Days 11&12

Ciao! Ready for another two days of life in Florence, Italy?! I knew you would be!

Where was I.. Oh yes, the veto of our day trip to Cortona in favor of a morning of sleeping in! Good decision for sure! We had such a fun final two days in Florence.

While we had our morning coffee, I noticed a Padres hat on Fredrico's machine! Little love from home :)
 Our morning started with laying in bed, planning our afternoon, a cup of coffee from Fredrico down in the bar, and an enjoyable stroll to the market (aka: paradise!). It is a giant two story building, full of nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, cheeses, and fish! It was like Whole Foods on steroids! All of the colors were so rich and vibrant as fruits and vegetables of all different shapes and colors lined the walls. There were no two zucchinis, apples, or strawberries alike! You could freely talk to any of the owners or farmers without having to question if chemicals and steroids were used on the food. America needs something like this!

One of the butcher shops in the market

Couldn't be more true!

Bakery in the market

Watching them make pizza (along with several other yummy foods!)
 We knew that we were coming back to the market tomorrow for a cooking class we booked, so we kept our time there pretty short. When we finished exploring, we wanted to go see the Duomo and get in line for the cathedral when it opened.

Inside the Duomo

 It was beautiful! We saw the baptistery, the cathedral, and climbed to the top of the bell tower. Pictures just won't do this church justice!

The bellower that we climbed

The bell at the top!

The most beautiful view of the city.

We made it!

The Duomo itself
We were absolutely starving when we finished at the Duomo, so we grabbed lunch and then wandered over to the Boboli Gardens. It’s behind the Petti Palace (a museum) and reminds me a lot of Versailles. The views of Florence from there were incredible!

After the gardens, we went back and finished off some leftovers at the hostel from last night’s dinner. We hung out at the bar, planned our departure to Rome for the next day, and rested up for our cooking tour in the morning.

On Monday, we started the day early again with our 9am cooking tour. 9am in Florence (when you are staying on the outskirts at least) means that you are up by 6:30, out the door by 7:30, at the train station to begin traveling soon after that, and leaving yourself plenty of time to get lost if you are walking at all. It’s always an adventure!

Back to the mercato centrale we went!

tasting truffle infused olive oils!

And more of that yummy dessert wine ;)

I still can't believe that eggs aren't refrigerated here.. I don't know if I could get used to that!

The certification papers that all of their meat needs to have in order to be used in restaurants. America- take notes!

Tasting (and buying ;) ) balsamics!

We tasted all kinds of truffle pastes, olive oils, balsamics, and wines. I ended up buying a truffle infused balsamic and a condiment balsamic, meaning that it has more than just grapes in the ingredient list. Mine, for example, has some red wine vinegar added to it to cut the sweetness a bit. I also bought a pistachio butter that we got to taste that I fell in love with! Needless to say, I have some incredible salads coming when I get home!

When we finished at the market, we walked to the cooking school, where our lead chef, Francesco, lead us through our preparations for the day. On the menu: tomato bruschetta, hand-made fettuccini with a white wine vegetable sauce, Italian meatballs, and panna cotta with a strawberry glaze. There was so much flexibility to account for food issues too. I was extremely impressed. White meat was offered for the meatballs and gluten free pasta was offered as well. Cheese, as well as other intolerances were recognized and there was no impression of the school being “put out” to handle these special requests.

Francesco, giving us the game plan

Making the pasta dough!

Beautiful eggs, more orange than I have ever seen!

Pretty ingredients!

In my happy place, kneading pasta dough!

Francesco, starting the white wine sauce

Ready to chop veggies for the sauce!

Those are Italian meatballs that are on the plate with the rosemary! They will be made several more times when I get home!

Finished bruschetta

I was the pasta machine turner- arm workout!

I found friends to help

It works!

A ridiculously long process

Worth the work!

The finished pasta dish!
 The food was really good! I will make the meatballs and attempt pasta again for sure! For the white wine sauce, I will probably cut the olive oil a bit next time. It was a bit too greasy for my taste, but it worked well for the class. My mom and I both took one bite of the panna cotta and couldn’t get past the jello texture. Neither one of us are huge on jello, so that was expected! Haha. Everyone else loved it though!

Mom, Francesco, and Me
 After the class, we took off for the train station and headed to Rome. It was time for a new city to explore!

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