03 Jul2006

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Florence was utterly enchanting. Also beautiful, captivating, soul-lifting…you name the superlative, and it probably applies to that wonderful city. It has zoomed up my list of Top 10 cities with just this recent visit for a week last May. I got sidetracked from my European posts for the ast2past month but I intend to post many more entries on both Florence and Rome in the days ahead… I hope to intersperse the posts with easy “can do” recipes of Italian food or Italian inspired dishes, and if anything jumps out of the local markets in Manila, squeeze those in as well. Barely an hour after checking into our 13th Century Tower Suite at a Bed & Breakfast near the Ponte Vecchio, we were out exploring the neighborhood and came across this wonderful produce shop just 5 minutes away by foot. My photos of this particular vendor turned out pretty good…not sure if it was the light, my hunger or just luck so I will pretty much let the photos do the talking… Up top, a small crate of the freshest looking squash flowers I have ever seen. I wanted to rush to a cheese shop and buy some mozzarella to stuff them with, perhaps some good chopped anchovies and a light batter…ah, fried squash blossoms are heavenly. The tomatoes and artichokes on offer looked brilliant, the juxtaposition of the red and freshest purple green colors would make even a Polaroid photo successful!

Though just a few square meters big, with a lot of frontage on the street (or cobblestoned passageway, really), this fruit and vegetable shop had topnotch produce…

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There were at least 5 different kinds of tomatoes and all looked vine ripened despite the early date…many were still probably imported from the Southern provinces of Italy or grown in greenhouses but they looked superb nonetheless…

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Cherries and plums…

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Pears and are those passionfruit?…

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A selection of berries…

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COMMENTS:

  1. edee says:

    the colours are stunning, specially the reds!
    ….those tomatoes look like our “native” ones…..

    Jul 3, 2006 | 9:04 pm

     
  2. millet says:

    did it feel like you had died and gone to palengke heaven? how i wish our local supermarkets took half the effort to make their produce displays half as fresh and interesting.

    Jul 3, 2006 | 10:17 pm

     
  3. Apicio says:

    They appear more like Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) to me than passion fruit which has buff waxy skin instead of the powdery bloom that is in your shot.

    Jul 3, 2006 | 11:33 pm

     
  4. hchie says:

    Lovely photos, MM.I like the artichoke and pepper one.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 7:21 am

     
  5. linda says:

    oh,what a market!! I always get excited everytime I see a display of fresh produce especially tomatoes of the field varieties and those berries looked so fantabulous!

    MM,thank you so much for sharing!

    Jul 4, 2006 | 8:26 am

     
  6. lee says:

    the squash flowers are photogenic, pang image bank!

    Jul 4, 2006 | 8:35 am

     
  7. RST says:

    Nespola. AKA medlar.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 12:46 pm

     
  8. RST says:

    Oops. Just read through the comments. Medlar was my first thought but Apicio might be right. Those might be (either Italian-grown or imported) loquats (which are East Asian in origin) and not the fruit of the European medlar.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 12:54 pm

     
  9. RST says:

    Medlars and loquats are related of course: both Eriobotrya and loquats sometimes called Japanese medlars (to distinguish it from European medlars). I am pretty sure that the name “nespola” applies to both medlar and loquat.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 1:01 pm

     
  10. RST says:

    I have had what were certainly (Japanese) loquats (perhaps imported from Israel) in Spain and they were called nispero (accent on first syllable), which is the Spanish name for the European medlar). Just looked up my reference book: medlar is Mespilus not Eriobotrya, sorry for pulling that out of my head without fact-checking. But they are definitely related.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 1:27 pm

     
  11. Apicio says:

    They can very well be either but more likely loquat since they avoid selling medlar because they can be inedibly tart if not ripened properly. Anyway, it is the Spanish term nispero that they applied to a New World fruit sapodilla, our chico, that gave the Jamaicans their term for the same fruit, nieceberry.

    Jul 4, 2006 | 6:24 pm

     
  12. izang says:

    what wonderful pics, MM……feels like i am also travelling with you……your travel stories are described so vividly……that’s why i love your blog…..

    Jul 5, 2006 | 12:45 pm

     
 

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