How perfectly cool: we are increasingly aware that we lucked out with regard to our Florentine home-location. We had a long list of things we were hoping for (2 bathrooms, a dishwasher, good internet, a washing machine)---when looking for a place. And location was a big priority; little did we know that we landed next to the hottest piazza in town. Piazza Santa Croce is where the festivals land. Sure there are other piazzas and buildings that fill up with with well-organized tents and important meetings... but if you are aiming for the 3 week Christmas festival, the doubled up weekends for tasting autumn's just-pressed olive oil, artisan foods and chocolate fairs---look no further.
Just a hop, skip and a jump and there you are: looking at the next fair. We adored the Christmas festival, even went away with metal sculptures and a German wood-crafted nativity set (not to mention the Glogg, pretzels, gems/minerals, candy, apple strudel, Dutch wooden shoe shaped slippers...). And now this past weekend we engorged on chocolate.
Seriously. Picture a chocolate faucet to cover your marshmallows on a stick. And monstrous size loafs of soft, layered chocolate. And perfectly bedecked truffles, with flavors like balsamic, tiramisu, pepperoncino, almond praline, hazelnut.... ooooooohhhhhh and the chocolate liquor!
We sampled, we splurged, we tasted and tried. What a feast for the eyes. I tell you, since day one we have been sampling chocolates in Florence, be it from festivals or the grocer, chocolate shops or otherwise. It is our job after all, to become chocolate connoisseurs. Here are two of our favorite finds:
OLIVA---over the holidays the stores were well-stocked with chocolates. We of course, sampled many and the OLIVA brand kept landing on the top of our list.
SNOEPIE---of all the stands at the chocolate festival, this one was hands-down my favorite. Belgium chocolate to die for.
(Sorry, couldn't find websites for the chocolates!). But if you want to see more chocolate festival pictures, those I can supply: facebook chocolate album.