The San Lorenzo market, in the heart of Florence, is a swarm of colors and scents. At the Mercato Centrale (the Food market in San Lorenzo) we’re talking artisan breads of all shapes and sizes; stands overflowing with in-season fruits and vegetables such as green beans, mushrooms, cherries, loquats, apricots, and strawberries. You’ll also find truffle oils and honeys; and novello or young olive oils. Plus, some of the strangest cuts of meat around, and the distinct smell of stewing tripe for tripe sandwiches. After eating tripe for the first time , I don’t think I’ll try the gristly-looking sandwiches. See my previous post on Fifth Quarter meats. However, the other parts of the market are a gourmet’s muse. The market is open from 7am to 2pm Monday through Saturday, and along with all the fresh food, there is take-away food for lunches on the run.
With our purchases, Kristin and I will make panini with Tuscan prosciutto and young “marzolina” Pecorino cheese. This cheese can only be found in the spring (marzo means March). It is usually only aged for 1-3 months to retain the green flavor of the fresh spring grass that the cows fed upon. No preservatives are used, so you can’t buy this cheese in the United States. It has a very particular taste that cannot be found anywhere else. Fresh as the countryside.
Written by and photos by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com