Where to eat + drink in Florence?

DSC_4334Since my recent trip to Florence, friends are asking me for recommendations regarding “best” places to eat and drink. Unfortunately, Italy is slowly becoming a distant memory and instead of remembering names of places I’m remembering mostly the ambiance and what I ate, “The ragu is the best I ever had! The resto is in the cutest street just near Ponte Vecchio… what was the name again?”.  Not very helpful as you can imagine. So this afternoon I find myself rummaging through both my desk and make-up bag, checking the interior of my high-heels, and turning over cushions, all in the attempt to find missing business cards of restaurants and bars we visited in Florence.

Before handing over my list, I should mention the goal of this trip was to track down Nonna food, meaning places that are as close as you can get to an Italian grandmother’s cooking, but of course Florence has its list of chic/trendy/stylish restaurant + bars which I’ve included in my list.

Enoteca COQUINARIUS
Via delle Oche, 11r
(traversa di via Calzaiuoli)
50122 FIRENZE
Tel: +39 055.23.02153
Loving the decor here! Very chic and casual with delicious food, and great wine selection thanx to wine expert, Nicolas. Mon Cheri felt the portions were just a little too small (compared to the rest of our Northern Italian eating adventures).

La Bussola
Via Porta Rossa, 58/R
Firenze
Tel: +39 055.29.488.22
Loving being seated up at the bar, you have front seats to all the action of pizza making. We went back for a second time.

La Bottega di Rosa
Via Del Campidoglio 8/14r
Firenze
Tel: +39 055.26.70.423
It’s not Nonna food nor Nonna prices, it’s a contemporary restaurant with a fancy chef.

Il Contadino
Via Palazzuolo 69/7R
FIRENZE
Tel: +39 055.23.82.673
Nonna food! Local atmosphere. Loved the ambiance here.

Zeb Gastronomia
Via San Miniato, 2 rosso
FIRENZE
Tel: +39 055.23.42.864
We ended our Fiat 500 tour here (Walkabout Tours Florence) with a superb antipasto plate and wine.

Golden View Open Bar
Via dei Bardi 58r (around the corner from Pont Vecchio)
Tel: +30 055.21.45.02
It was our morning bar for coffee and pastries, and in the evening for apero + tapas style food.

Osteria del Porcellino
Via Val di Lamona 7r
Firenze
Tel: +39 055.26.41.48
This restaurant was recommended to us by a local. It’s proof that locals know where the good stuff is.

Trattoria Casalinga
Via de Michelozzi, 9R
Firenze
Tel: +39 055 21.86.24
Talk about local place. Labourers still in their overalls, students, old folks and us. Nonna food, Nonna prices.

Fiaschetteria Nuvoli
Piazza dell’Olio, 15
Firenze
Tel: +39 055.23.96.616
You walk past this tiny tiny place and you think there’s not much here except a little antipasto and coffee coffee bar …. huh !.. Surprise surprise, Nonna’s restaurant is down stairs! Hidden gem. Hidden from tourists.

The St. Regis Florence
Piazza Ognissanti 1
Firenze
Tel: +39 055.27.161
During a midnight walk along the River Arno we couldn’t help but be pulled into the St.Regis for a couple of cocktails at the bar.

Note: most of these restaurants don’t have English translations on their menu. I like that, it’s more local that way. But as romantic as the idea sounds it makes ordering a challenge, it’s okay if you like surprises.

Mother’s Day, to my beautiful MARIA!

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To everyone she is MARIA. And everyone knows MARIA’s laugh, it’s her signature. She’s also Sydney’s best beauty therapist, I know because I’ve had to share Maria with her adoring clientele. To me, Maria, is my gorgeous, funny and elegant mother. A woman who has the energy of the world. A woman who is focused and knows what she wants and gets it!

Thank you mum for encouraging me and supporting all my choices, including the big one that was moving to Paris. Thank you for all the advice you give particularly when I’ve got the big crocodile tears. Thank you for always, always staying positive and being so damn logical. And I just love your view of life. I love you mum!

Happy Mothers Day MARIA! en francais: Joyeuse Fete des Meres MARIA!

BIG KISS XXX

Love your daughter from Paris.

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My mother, a teacher and a business woman. Inspiring everyone!

La Patisserie by Cyril Lignac

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Revisiting my old neighbourhood in the 11th arrondissement for a few art supplies from Graphico on Rue Voltaire had me thinking that this bohemian district hasn’t changed at all, it’s the same. Instantly my heart fell back to my first year in Paris which was 2009: the unfamiliarity I had then is now what I feel of being back home. When I first moved here I kind-of felt unlucky because it wasn’t St Germain or Le Marais but now I get it. Here it’s real. What you’ll find in the 11th is your classic no frills wine bars, your local Argentinian resto, Arabic tea salons, Jewish creperies, and an eclectic mix of locals. Even my too-cool-for-school dentist on Rue Voltaire wears a pair of Converse. So, you can imagine my surprise when I first saw the chic clean modern lines of La Patisserie by Cyril Lignac on the corner of Rue Chanzy and Rue Paul Bert replacing what used to be my local boulanger. Gosh, has it been that long? The addition of Cyril’s shop is like removing a pair of Converse and replacing it will Louboutins. I’m suprised he’s chosen this location and not followed the show-biz path of patissiers to set up in the 4th, 6th, 7th or 15th. But I don’t know Cyril, maybe he’s like my dentist.

Welcome to the 11th Cyril but don’t forget this is a Converse kind of hood.

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La Patisserie by Cyril Lignac
24 rue Paul Bert 75011 Paris

Coffee style in Bologna

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A tour of one of Italy’s most chic Northern cities could not start without having a good shot of espresso. Buying an espresso in Bologna also gets you front seats of the best people watching that Italian fashion show can bring without having a VIP pass. The turnover of patrons in Zanarini bar and others like it, is pure entertainment – kisses on cheeks, hands waving and the big, “Ciao”. While at the bar, I hoped to study the collection of Italian pastries but instead I curiously studied Zanarini’s stylish patrons and waiters while mentally throwing out my Parisian wardrobe (I wonder what their patissiers wear?).

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Your Northern Italian waiters bring you personality, style and “Ciao!” with your coffee.

Zanarini’s clientele of lawyers, barristers, models, (et moi) are strategically placed in viewing point as the bar sits on a corner of two main streets, and it’s large windows open to the piazza and high fashion boutiques.

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Bologna, the city of arches, so no need for an umbrella, only a good coffee, pasticceria (pastry) and a layer of Northern Italian style.

Zanarini
Piazza Galvani,1
40124 Bologna, Italy
+39 051 275 0041

P.S, Miss you Bologna xxx

Love Miss Pirisi.

Paris, my wife. Italy, my mistress.

Love Italy

For now, I see it like this:

Paris is my wife. I am loyal to her because I love her dearly and deeply. I know her. I chose her. She is my soul. She is what I call home.

Italy is my mistress. I fantasise about her regularly and I want to see her whenever I can. She is the fire and the passion that rages inside of me. I’m in love with her. She makes me a better person. Yet, I don’t  know if I can leave Paris.

Since my recent trip to Italy, I realised something …… I’m caught between two loves.

How to mold chocolate?

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Gelatin egg molds.

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The set gelatin egg mold is positioned into a larger egg mold.

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Brush chocolate then pour. This is how you’ll have an hole in your chocolate egg because the gelatin mold will be removed once the chocolate is set.

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The left mold has the gelatin egg mold which is now covered with chocolate by brush.

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Now pour the chocolate to the rim of the molds.

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Now tap with this hose looking devise (yellow tube) it’s to bust the bubbles in the chocolate. You do this before flipping the molding tray upside down.

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Quickly turn mold upside down and tap with the yellow tube/hose. This process is so messy!

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Scrape away excess chocolate.

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Place mold upside down to set onto little blocks before pouring your second & or third layer of chocolate. After your last layer of chocolate place the mold directly onto the tray (flat surface) and not on the blocks.

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Egg mold with no gelatin mold. Very straight forward. No need to brush chocolate just pour up to the rim.

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Making chocolate balls or spheres. Again no gelatin just simply pour chocolate to riim.

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This is a circle ring. Fill it completely with chocolate and set it in fridge. This will be your base for your egg structure for example.