Thursday 27 March 2014

Florence - Part 3 - Italian Markets

Pictures rather than words this time:

This could have been stock from a certain Junky Antique Shop we know or most car boot sales, come to that.  A Fleamarket stall in Pisa.  Nothing worth having . . .

A corner of an antique shop window, rather than a market stall, but I took it as a couple of things there to interest my husband.

This was a stall at the Permanent Fleamarket - though there is a much much bigger one set up each month  - but of course we missed that.  Some nice glass lighting, but beyond our means and difficult to pack!

My husband loves Windsor chairs, and has a small collection.  Somehow these two very English Windsor chairs ended up in Florence - I ouldn't see a price though and the shop was still shut.  My husband says they are North Country in style - well, north of Nottingham, going up through Lancs.  Nice chairs.

Gelato anyone?  They were SUPERB.  We had one in Pisa and then queued to go to the best Gelato shop in Florence later in the week, and had a double decker Pear and Salted Caramel.  Ice cream is never going to taste the same again . . .

A corner of the general market stocked bedding - imported quilts made in the Far East included.  There were also lots of 2nd hand and vintage clothing stalls, which Tam enjoyed looking through (but not the prices!)

There were many similar stalls offering fresh meat and vast quantities of Charcuterie.

We bought our lunch from Paolo's stall (Thursday) - huge fresh cold pananis with Parma ham, local cheese, and salad, washed down with a mouthful of excellent red wine.

Part of the offerings at the Fish Market.  Tam said she saw one of the stallholders cutting up a small shark!

More good produce, lots of cheese, and salt cod as well.

The fruit and vegetables were so fresh and tempting and we just HAD to buy Blood Oranges when we got home after seeing them here.  We passed them by on the day as oranges are just so messy to picnic on!  There were lots of baby courgettes still with their flowers on, huge strawberries which we meant to buy then got distracted.  Artichoke heads, chicory, huge aubergines, peppers - everything you could need.

One of the stalls at the Farmer's Market, which was equally stuffed with goodies.  I don't like Olives, but the Olive bread looked fabulous.

Further along the same stall - some wonderful Marzipan fruits, and to the left, gigantic doughnuts.

Selections of regional cheeses, above and below.  

The Pugliese cheese is made from sheep's milk, and has a very intense flavour - it's usually grated to accompany other regional dishes.  HERE'S A LINK about regional Italian cooking and food.

A great selection of fresh bread to accompany any meal.

Last but not least - a fabulous array of crystalized fruits of every description.  

The bitter irony of all this largesse was that I wasn't really tempted by anything, because I was brewing this infection.  I lived on water, and had to force down food.  The only good meal I ate was pizza on the first day there and then I went downhill!  A wonderful plate of pasta bolognese (fifteen euros) and I managed just four mouthfuls before I was completely full up.  I managed a little better with an (overcooked) Sea Bream the next night, and really enjoyed the beef in red wine on the final night, only we were sat outside, and there was a brisk and cold wind which rendered everything on my plate stone cold within minutes, but I managed half of it . . .  So I had better get on and do some recreating here hadn't I?!


  1. It looks wonderful-made me hungry!

  2. Made me hungry too!
    The Italians have never lost the art of eating local food and respecting their artisan food producers.

    My favourite Gelato was the coffee one. Wish we had been there long enough to try them all!

  3. What a fantastically colourful market. Sorry to hear you've been poorly again - you need a holiday :-)

    Great images on the previous post too.

  4. My favourite was the marzipan fruit, we are all starving now, what delicious food, and what a shame you could not do it justice....

  5. I have my appetite back now, so I got some Parma ham etc today and will have an Italian food week I think, to make up for it. Thelma - sorry I made you hungry!

    C/Tales - it was so colourful and interesting, and I would eat so well if we lived there! Sputum test came back negative - "just" a flare-up of my asthma. Reckon I DO need a holiday!!!

    DW - it's a shame us Brits have largely lost touch with our regional and artisan products, but good to see them making a strong come-back. I don't care for coffee in any form, but I might have made an exception for gelato . . .

    Jan - I shall have to look out for an Italian market coming to our part of Wales I think. I'd love to try out some of the goodies.

  6. P.S. Especially the lifeboat-sized doughnuts!!!

  7. SO funny about those Windsor chairs! They looked so incongruous there amongst the more Mediterranean artefacts. So sorry you couldn't enjoy all that delicious food. xx

  8. They did look rather out of place Em. My husband would have wanted to rescue them, I'm sure. We have a very similar one made from yew in our house.

  9. Wow, what fabulous photos and the market ones are so bright and gives such a sense of 'being' there. Food photos really show life in a foreign country and I think have been my favourite, although the buildings at Piza are stunning :D
    Glad you're safely home and had a good

  10. The ice cream sound fantastic! Thanks for this lovely market tour.

  11. Yarrow - the markets seemed to be the heart of the city - the lifeblood almost - as they reflected the people and the food, just as much as the Medieval city does.

    Suzie - I just wish I'd eaten more ice cream! Glad you enjoyed the market tour.