The theme of this week here in Florence, for me, would definitely have to be food. Between my cooking class on Wednesday and the International Gelato Festival that we explored today, I’ve spent the week indulging in Italian foods.
One of the reasons I chose to study abroad in Florence was because of the rich culinary traditions and Mediterranean cuisine. I have always loved cooking and have a deep appreciation for how food is grown, prepared and enjoyed. Although I’m studying and spending a lot of time adjusting to the city, I have already been so spoiled by the food I’ve been able to find!
I’ve spent time exploring the Central Market, where they have produce, fresh meats and cheeses and all sorts of other foods. I’ve surprisingly elected to use the grocery store more than the market, only because the market requires extensive knowledge of Italian vocab. However, once I feel a little bit more comfortable communicating with the vendors, I’m sure I’ll utilize it more!
Even the grocery stores here boast produce that put the supermarkets in the U.S. to shame- I am so impressed. Here’s a picture of my trip to the grocery store this week! Each time I go I try to find a product I haven’t tried yet, but it’s always a gamble because I can only understand every other word on the packaging!
Fortunately, although deciphering products in Italian is difficult, I’m getting better AND I’m learning all about food in my Mediterranean Cuisine course! I am so grateful to be able to take a course that discusses the foods I love. I’m learning a lot and enjoying the process more than I ever could have expected I would. I’ll throw some fun facts at you-
The eggplant is a berry, not a fruit or vegetable!
Eggs don’t have to be refrigerated and they have a long shelf life (28 days).
I’ve been cutting the wrong way my whole life. Knife skills might need a whole separate blog post!
To poach an egg, you have to form a vortex/whirlpool in a pot of boiling water and vinegar. The vortex is easy, but pouring the cracked egg in, in a way that doesn’t break the yolk and is appropriately “delicate, but quick” is not a simple task! My cooking instructor deemed my first attempt “too violent” and requested that I start over.
THE FINAL PRODUCT!!
Okay, enough fun facts. Onto the best part of my week!
So, this afternoon my friends and I hiked up to a piazza overlooking the city of Florence to sample the best gelato in Europe. I’m not even kidding/exaggerating! It was legitimately the top 16 gelatos in Europe- they were in the final round of the 2017 contest, which luckily fell in Florence this fall. We bought a 9 euro ticket and tasted 16 different gelatos, ranging from ricotta to baklava to strawberry with balsamic and chocolate. It was absolutely amazing.
Here’s a sampling:
(the smaller ones I either forgot to take a picture of before licking or the scooper just gave me a little scoop)