Thursday, October 9, 2014

Florence - Il Mercato Centrale

I can't believe we have made it this far into my Italy posts and I have yet to talk about food!  Well, let me set about correcting that oversight pronto.  This post is full to the brim with photos from Florence's central market.  I have many memories of frequenting this grubby, stinky market when I was a student in Florence 15 years ago as it is located near my former school.  The first floor was full of fish and meat vendors and it smelled like stinky fish.  The second floor smelled better since that is where the fruit and vegetable vendors were, but it wasn't fancy up there either.  Fast forward 15 years to this past summer and the central market reopened after renovations.  It is very gourmet now, complete with prepared foods, a cooking school and the fish vendors sequestered off in one stinky corner!  Thankfully, it hasn't change TOO much.  I still saw tourists getting chastised for touching the produce by cranky vendors who don't speak English.

We were fortunate to be there during porcini mushroom season.  They were very affordable at less than $10 a pound. I learned that the cap and stem are edible and that many prefer the flavor of the stem to the cap as it is a bit sweeter.

dried, salted capers

We came away with some things to eat right away and some things to last a while.  Here is a photo of my haul.  Please note the immense restraint I demonstrated in the face of all of that wonderful food.  Maybe even too much restraint, since I wish I could go back and buy some of the black truffle items that I passed up thinking there would be other opportunities during the trip.  There weren't!

We ate very well on our trip.  I will tell you more about our meals throughout my posts.

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