Camminare (Cam-mee-NAH-ray): to walk
There were so many words to choose from today, but this is the one that best characterized the day for me. I left the house at 10:15 am to go to the Cascine Street Market. It is a 15 minute walk there, and the market itself is at least a mile long. Then when you get to the end you have to turn around and walk back through the market (another mile) and then back home.
The street market is a weekly ritual for me. I’ve only missed a couple of Tuesdays since I’ve been here. It’s such an amazing mix of things, from fresh fruit and veggies, to kitchen gadgets, to clothes and beauty products, to herb starts, to puppies for sale, the market has it all. Today I bought beautiful purple onions, lots of tomatoes, fresh peas and asparagus, fresh eggs, and a fried polenta snack. That’s just the food stalls. I also got a new purse, a new belt, a new shirt, 2 capri length leggings, a new scarf, a bra, and a dress, all for €22.
When I got home form the market at around 2:15, I put away all the fresh produce and headed out again. I am on the hunt for 2 things – a pair of comfortable walking shoes for summer and a pair of skinny jeans. I walked for another 3 hours, stopping in shops and trying on shoes and pants. I didn’t buy a thing, although I did find a pair of shoes I really love. They are €99 and I’m trying to decide whether or not I want to commit. I also stopped in at the Santa Maria dei Ricci church where the California Redwood Chorale will be performing in a few weeks time.
But here was my real score of the day. At the end of all that shopping, I was hungry so I stopped in to my local fresh pasta shop. I’ve seen this place before but never ventured in. Today, I decided I would stop in and say hello and buy something. The gnocchi looked good so I asked him for enough for 2 people. It cost €2.80 and was PLENTY for us to eat for dinner. I have been meaning to get back to the salumeria to buy some more of that divine ricotta, so I stopped in there, too. He was out of ricotta, but I saw that he had something labeled “salsa di tartufo.” I told him that I LOVE truffles and he said this stuff is really good. I meant to ask him “How do I prepare it?” but instead I asked “How is it prepared?” and he said that it has only butter, white truffle, black truffle, salt, and parmesan cheese and it is molto buono! He asked what I would put it on. I told him that I just bought some gnocchi and he said, “Perfetto! This will be the best gnocchi of your life.” I asked him for enough for 2 people. I was nervous because this stuff is €80 per kilo but when he weighed it, it came out to about €6. You don’t need much. (I just want to brag for a moment that this entire conversation was in Italian! Yea!)
We had it for dinner and it was beyond heavenly. Seriously. I don’t know why we ever eat out. I don’t know if we should ever eat out again. I should certainly not try to cook this stuff from scratch myself. For about €9 we had the best (well, maybe second-best) dinner we’ve had the whole time we have been here. Why would anyone make their own pasta or gnocchi or pesto or anything of the sort when some artisan down the street who has perfected the art is selling it for cheap. I’m sorry, my American friends, but this just isn’t something you can find in the states. I plan to soak it all up (and probably save it all on my thighs) for the rest of the time I am here. Does it help that I walked for over seven hours today?
“Cammino molto” I walk a lot!