Well Christmas passed by like a flash and here we are in 2013 already! We were very fortunate here in Florence to have had lots of sunshine and some very mild days across the Christmas break. We spread our Christmas celebrations out, visiting Emiliano’s family in Cecina (near Livorno) on the 22nd & 23rd December and then spending Christmas day with my sister and her children in Pietrasanta, Versilia. We ate a very traditional English lunch of roast pork with all the wonderful roast vegetables, apple sauce, crackling and gravy, almost exactly as my mother used to make and I must say, every bit as delicious! Toni also cooked our mother’s cherished Christmas Cake and Mince Pie recipes for the first time and they both bought back some very special memories. After stuffing my face with lunch and dessert, we also managed to take home a huge bag full of left-overs which unfortunately didn’t last as long as I would have liked!
We also ate our share of Panettone and still have a whole one here waiting to be opened. Two historic bars here, Gigli in Piazza Republica and Rivoire in Piazza Signoria make the most beautiful panettone and chocolates and the packaging is so gorgeous, it seems a shame to open them.
For New Years Eve, Florence offered free concerts in five piazzas around the center. After experiencing New Years eve in Florence a few years ago, we weren’t in too much of a hurry to return to the center. The atmosphere pre-midnight was great but come midnight and all the delinquents seem to emerge, smashing bottles and letting off huge, exploding fireworks that don’t look like they should be in the hands of amateurs.
Being sick combined with having a toddler meant that we had a very quiet New Years Eve at home and I couldn’t have asked for anything nicer! We live so close to Piazzale Michelangelo that we could see and especially hear all of the fireworks anyway so we got to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of our lounge room.
I am already tired of Winter…………. Having all of my Australian friends continually posting their sun-filled summer beach photos doesn’t help much either. One of the best things about this time of year though is the food and I have been consuming quite a lot of my favourite Tuscan bread soup, Ribollita, with a generous drizzle of new olive oil – Olio Nuovo – this really is the best Comfort food around and also quite easy and cheap to make. I’ll try and make some this week and share the recipe although as I just commented on facebook that updating my blog while Matteo was awake is proving to be nearly impossible, let’s hope I get the next post written before the seasons change!
To finish off, I just have to share the above photo of the beautiful windows of Valentino, one of my favourite designers. Such classic, simple elegance. Love the Christmas colours too!