I saw the Fage brand on the side and without even looking at the rest of the label said "Oooh, vanilla greek yogurt, SCORE!" You may notice (unlike I did) that the label says Risolata. Well, yogurt in Italian is, um, yogurt, so that certainly wasn't what this was. It turned out to be vanilla rice pudding! I had never had rice pudding, but my mother adores it and I was anxious to see if this mistake was a sweet one.
Verdict: HOLY YUM! It tasted like whipped cream, and the rice added a nice texture contrast as well as a good grainy flavor. This was a little expensive for just one cup - around 1.24 euro - so it is only an occasional treat, but worth it. I have never seen it in U.S. stores (even my beloved Whole Foods), but if you see it, I would recommend giving it a try!
After some green tea and blogging, me and a couple roomies ventured out to Piazzale Michelangiolo, a point on a hill on the other side of the Arno River (called Oltrarno) that overlooks all of Florence. If you've seen pictures of Florence, chances are they were taken from this point. And as it was a gorgeous day and we in dire need of getting OUT, we decided no day but today! (RENT, anyone?)
Of course, the minute we stepped outside our building, the clouds started to roll in. Indeed, by the time we made it there, it was on the verge of pouring. But weather has yet to stop me, and so it shall remain!
On Sunday, Firenze is hoppin, especially in the historic center. Lots of people = LOTS of dog-walkers! I have resisted taking pictures lest I be labeled a creepy American tourist, but today I saw this baby and gave in:
Airedale! Almost a Wheaten, but nothing you can't beat MY baby:
After crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we stopped for some photo ops:
Oltrarno is so much calmer. I plan on wandering around there, especially to search for the wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant my family and I found during our visit here. I am bound and determined to find it and go again!
Check out these funky trees!
See the cute couple through the gate? It was too perfect to not photograph.
Florence is nestled between many hills of the Tuscan countryside. And when I say hills I mean "watch out San Francisco, you've got some competition"-type hills.Our destination is located at the top of one, which meant climbing up some of these:
And a few of these:
It is beyond worth it in the end, though. The view is...incomparable.
It was SO cool to see the Duomo from above - it's fun to know we walk down there everyday!
TURQUOISE DOME! (Perhaps I should mention my favorite color in the world is turquoise, and I am a complete sucker for anything turquoise-colored. Hence, this church rocked my socks.)
Not my most flattering angle but hey, it was Sunday and I just hiked up a serious hill. Focus on the background, people!
We took our respective pictures and decided to head home before the sky opened up onto our heads.
Hit up the grocery store on the way, where I picked up some "insalata di mare" for my dinner. It is a very popular Italian appetizer, basically calamari and little shrimp marinated in lemon and a touch of olive oil. I got it everywhere on my first trip to Italy. I love me some squid!
Speaking of my dinner...
Sauteed spinach and zucchini with garlic, olive oil and a little pecorino. I used it to top a little whole wheat penne, and then threw some fresh tomatoes and my insalata on top. My kind of meal! The sweetness of the zucchini really balanced out the citrus from the lemony fish, and the pasta added great texture. Inexpensive, healthy, homemade - my ideal meal!
Let's sum up, shall we? This weekend I saw THE David, visited San Gimignano - Tuscany's "medieval Manhattan" and one of the most beautiful places on earth, saw Florence from it's best view, and ate everything from strawberry risotto to spelt soup to tiramisu gelato. A pretty successful weekend, I would say - perfect in its imperfections.
Alright, my Food & Culture textbook has been whispering in my ear all day "read me...stop procrastinating..." and now it has elevated to screaming, yelling, and generally throwing a tempter tantrum. I think it needs a cappuccino ;)