Every day this week as I walked past Santa Croce, I saw men working on the building that would house the many bancarelle (stands) for the Fiera del cioccolato. I wanted to go as soon as it opened on Thursday, but I didn't have a chance. I wanted to go before Sunday because that's usually the busiest day for the fiera because many people go for a passeggiata (walk) around town. I didn't go Friday because it was raining, so my only day was today.
As soon as the rain stopped for a few minutes this evening, I ran down to Piazza Santa Croce to check out the fiera (festival). I was surprised to see how empty the fiera was. All the other times I've been there have been large crowds. Besides, the maltempo (bad weather) and the time, almost 7 pm, there was also a partita di calcio (soccer match) where the Fiorentina would be playing. I certainly wasn't going to stay too long because I was planning on watching the partita.
I walked around the fiera looking at all the chocolate on display. Almost every bancarella had a small platter containing pieces of chocolate to taste. I tried chocolate at a few different bancarelle, but was a little disappointed.
I saw a few people walking around with cups of cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) in their hands, but I was afraid to risk it because I know the one that I get at Vestri is so delicious that it's hard to beat.
I noticed that most of the exhibitors weren't from Florence, but rather from the north of Italy where chocolate is their specialty. Much of the chocolate I had seen before, but there were also a few things I'd never seen like miele al cioccolato (chocolate honey). I didn't taste it, but it looked interesting.
I took some pictures of the chocolate, but in the end my favorite shot was of the bancarelle built under two white tents in front of the chiesa (church).
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