Entremet: Mercato Centrale, Florence

In the Italian capital of the arts, the central market is a sight to be seen. Built in 1874, the iron and glass structure is located in the San Giovanni neighborhood. One of Italy’s most beautiful indoor markets offers locals 2 full floors of food stalls. Outside, an equally large assortment of stands packed with faux Louis Vuitton bags –an indication that tourists are also popular here.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are displayed like colorful still life paintings, arranged in thoughtful compositions, ready to be picked or painted. Dried fruit laid out like watercolor palettes and beautiful aged cheeses from all over Europe sold next to impossibly fresh local buffalo mozzarella. The latter so good you can eat it like an apple, simply by biting into it.

But is the carnivore that may find there’s heaven after all. From filet to offal, no parts are spared; every bit is on display. Man surrounded my meat. Endless arrays of prosciuttos arranged side by side in shades of red and brown mirroring the Florentine clay rooftops seen from above. Rustic exhibitions of manly meat that only when sliced reveal their delicate, complex side. Slivers of cured Parma and San Danielle blending layers of flavor and fat.

But wherever you’re hungry or not, Florence’s Mercato Centrale is worth a visit; if not to please the palate, definitely to entertain the eyes.


Manger La Ville said...

I just went there last summer. And I loved it. I miss it.

Ninette Enrique said...

Beautiful photo. I spent part of my junior year in college in Florence.

pRiyA said...

i enjoyed that fabulous slide show of italian food. thank you.

Adrian Reynolds said...

No market in Italy compares to the Mercato Albinelli, in Modena. Worth a visit.