Happy Valentine’s Day!
This morning before class I decided to watch Julie & Julia and have to share this clip with you:
“You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.”
How romantic is that? This is such a wonderful movie about the joys of real love.
Here in Florence one of the major events around Valentines Day is the Chocolate Festival in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, FIERA DEL CIOCCOLATO ARTIGIANALE. From February 8 – 17th booths of chocolatiers from all over the city gather together to create a wonderful array of sweet treats that you can smell blocks away from the piazza.
When my friends and I decided to visit this amazing fair, we almost went in to a sugar coma just glancing at all of the amazing chocolate desserts just waiting to be sampled. Almost every booth was offering free samples including a stand of chocolate flavored liqueurs!
It was heaven staring at bricks of dark chocolate with hazelnuts, chocolate salami rolls, chocolate covered coffee beans and pistachios, fondue, and just about anything else you could possibly think of.
One of the first things I tried was fragole con cioccolato e panna, or a cup of fresh strawberries with warm chocolate and whipped cream on top. Absolute bliss, I’m telling you!
One of the most popular items at the festival is hot chocolate. Not just because it’s chilly in Florence at this time of year, but because these chocolatiers take this signature drink seriously!
Unlike the American drink that I’m used to that consists mainly of water/milk/or cream with a small scoop of powdery cocoa mixed in, their recipe contains almost 100% melted down dark chocolate with a small amount of cream and sugar. Sounds incredibly rich right? It absolutely is…but if you’re looking to warm yourself up and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time, there couldn’t be a better way!
My last stop with the girls was at a pastry stand where people where a mob of people were crowding for the fresh baked goods. Fresh baked lobster rolls filled with Nutella or cream, warm sugary donuts filled with the same, sfogliatelle, and cannolis were just some of the unearthly pastries found here.
I decided this was the place I was going to try my first real cannoli in Italy. A perfectly crunchy shell stuffed with sweet ricotta cream and coated with pistachios, this Sicilian delicacy sole my heart. The ricotta was filled with natural flavor and the shell had the flaky consistency that added just the right texture with every bite.
I wish you all a lovely Feast of San Valentino (Valentines Day) full of love and possibly some delicious goodies!