by Melinda Gallo

Un bel picnic

Today I went to the mercato and picked up a few things for my family to enjoy for lunch. We have been eating out so much that I decided that it'd be good to eat a few things at home. I had an idea of what to get, but of course, it was much clearer when I arrived at the mercato.

At the ortolana, I got some pomodorini (small tomatoes) and fresh basilico. From my pizzicheria, I purchased pecorino, taleggio, burrata di bufala, mozzarella, parmeggiano, prosciutto, salame, and finocchiona (Tuscan salami). I found the miele al tartufo (truffle honey) at the place where I get fresh pasta. I purchased a small jar of it with small pieces of truffle inside.

I bought a bottle of Chianti from a woman who comes once a week to the mercato to sell fresh items from her fattoria (farm), like miele and pate di olive (olive paste).

I walk by a shop on via de' Macci every time I go to the mercato that sells vino sfuso, which is sold by the liter, and other items from all over Italy, like aceto balsamico bianco (white balsamic vinegar) and pâté di olive (olive paste) from Sicily. I had never gone into this shop because I thought it was only for tourists.

The short blue-eyed woman in the shop talked to me excitedly about all the products on the shelves, from the different types of miele (honey), like al timo (with thyme), al limone (with lemon) and al castagno (with chestnut), and many products with tartufo (truffle), like burro al tartufo, olio al tartufo, pâté al tartufo and miele al tartufo. I also found some pear and aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar) jam to be eaten with the pecorino cheese.

I had to continually interrupt the nice woman in the shop because she wanted me to look at every product in the shop. I was impressed with her selection of items and will definitely be going back to get a few more items.

On my way home, I went to my favorite forno on via Ghibellina, and got us some warm schiacciata (focaccia bread) that they just took out of the oven.

I had made a torta al cioccolato senza farina (flourless chocolate cake) the night before for dessert. Dave and I packed up all the goodies and went to my sister's rental apartment in Piazza della Signoria. We laid everything out on the table and ate most of it all up. After almost finishing up the entire bottle of wine, we had to take a rest.

The lunch was so wonderful that I plan on having another picnic like this for just the two of us some day.

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