This past Saturday was International Women’s Day, which is a pretty big deal here in Italy despite some reporting that it’s being celebrated less than in the past. The holiday actually began in the US, an ironic fact since it really isn’t celebrated there. In Italy it has traditionally been celebrated by men giving women (their wives, girlfriends, daughters) the mimosa flower, and I tell you, I saw a LOT of bouquets on Saturday and most of them incorporated the mimosa flower. How sweet!
Saturday was also smack in the middle of a pretty big Italian foodie event, Taste Florence. A bunch of the events were held at Stazione Leopolda, but during the afternoon on Saturday there was a big wine and food tasting event held all up and down the Oltr’arno on Via Santo Spirito, in all kinds of different shops. Bakeries, wine sellers, butchers, all kinds of people participating… all in all a great feast of publicity and a great opportunity for those in Florence to check out some great food! We started off in a pretty standoffish shop, but in the rest the vendors were warm and welcoming and we indulged in some great treats.
The best find, by far, was a tiny flower shop that had an AMAZING baker inside. The baker was warm and effusive in his welcome to women, making sure each left with a small treat in hand to enjoy later. He had even created some special cakes for the occasion.
Aren’t they gorgeous? Those are mimosa flowers on them. This same baker had also created a wide variety of unique treats. They were insanely detailed, and I was shocked that he was giving them away for free!
The little yellow cakes were what he sent home with us. We tried the chocolate cups that you can see in the back… basically they were little chocolate pots filled with something similar to apple pie filling. Majorly delicious! Here’s another closeup shot of the amazing detail.
He had also made these wonderful cream puffs.
And the whole atmosphere of the shop was wonderful… the flowers were, naturally, gorgeous and the place had this secret sanctuary tucked away in the back.
We stopped in numerous shops along the way… an Aveda salon, a jewelry store, furniture stores… everyone seemed to be participating! We even got a sneak peek at this garden which is usually closed to the public (we think) with a view of the rear of the church of Santo Spirito.
We finished up back across the river at one more wine shop and at Ladurée, a famous Parisian macaron shop that opened in Florence in December (I think), and tasted their newest macaron.
The whole day was an amazing example of how when you find out about an event, you just have to try it out, because you never know what might be a winner! The tasting event was so fun and we got such a wide variety of treats, and didn’t have to pay a dime! It was really a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day with friends.