April 26, Florence
In the morning, we took a food tour from Toni of Taste Florence. Bud and Gingy had used Toni before, and her tour was better than all the other food tours I've been on combined. Toni has lived in Florence for 20 years, seemingly knows everyone, and has great relationships with the shops we visited.
We started out in the Central Market, where at various vendors we were served small portions of cheese, meats, dish and pasta, each with stories of the background of the shop and its owners. At a small bakery we had an assortment of pastries, including rice bread balls.
A wine tasting introduced us to three wines new to all of us, plus delicious cheeses, fruits, and sausages. A balsamic vinegar tasting was next, including a "white" balsamic (not aged) that was interesting.
We ended the food part at a gelato shop, where Toni once again knew the family that ran it. At the end she showed us a paper shop where the proprietor demonstrated how that lovely swirled book endpaper is created.
We then took some time to peruse one of the many "leather markets" in town - it sometimes seemed as if every other store was a "leather factory". While we didn't buy any leather goods, I did buy three nice silk ties for €20.
Quite full from all the food, we retired to our apartment, where for dinner we cooked the Gorgonzola-stuffed ravioli that we had picked up in the market.