Okay, if you’re tired of hearing about all of the festivals here, this is not the post for you. Then again, if you’re a festival junkie like me, read on…
It’s almost hard for me to believe how many festivals there are here in Florence. I think I’ve just decided that festivals are a part of everyday life – like little food markets, the passeggiata and cappuccinos (and, “purtroppo,” the post office). Seriously, I can’t remember a weekend in the past several months where there wasn’t at least one festival or festival-like happening. And now that it’s the holiday season…well, you can do the math!
This past week marked the start of the German Christmas Market which runs for about 3 weeks in Piazza Santa Croce (recall this is where the European Food Festival was held). It’s a little like that festival (complete with wurst), but with more permanent and holiday-adorned stalls, as well as more non-food gift items (pictures below). There’s also the addition of a cold-weather treat we sampled – mulled wine (pictured in Steve’s hand) – we could not put our finger on what gave it its unique flavor (wine, spices, and….varnish?).
While all of that was fun enough, the festival came to an exciting crescendo when we came across the gentleman from England and his wondrous booth of… CHEDDAR CHEESE!!!! (I actually yelled out-loud, in English, “OMG, he has CHEDDAR CHEESE!!!”) Okay, now those of you reading this back in the States may be thinking “huh, what’s the big deal?” I’ll tell you what the big deal is – it is the first time in 4 months we’ve had a taste of real cheddar cheese (and we used to eat this stuff by the pounds back in ABQ)! (You may recall I have said you can get [very expensive] cheddar at Pegna, which is true, but the taste is not spot-on). Not only does the English chap (pictured) have cheddar cheese, but he has a mind-boggling array of varieties (with jalapenos anyone?). I think we were too overwhelmed by excitement (and taste-testing) to make coherent choices, but we did come home with two blocks (some of which will make its way into enchiladas tomorrow night; while we have no green chile, I did bring dried red). We’ve agreed it’s worth the splurge, so before the festival ends we are going to go back and get one of the flavor assortment wheels pictured. Woo Hoo!!! (I actually had to e-mail another expat who I know stays on the lookout for cheddar as well – she responded with similar enthusiasm ["Yuuuuuum. How totally exciting!!"]).
I know it’s been a blog-post-filled week – thanks for reading and have a great weekend!!!