Monday, June 9, 2008

Tuscany - Through Its Wine and Food - Part Two

Upon arriving in Florence, before the beginning of my tour, I had the great pleasure to meet up with the author, chef and photographer, Ilva, of Lucullian Delights. Her blog was one of the first blogs I was drawn to and have continued to be a daily reader of her beautiful posts. If you haven't seen her site, you must! Her photography shows that she has a very keen eye, her recipes are truly original and inspiring, and her personal notes either leave me giggling or crying, as she has this straightforward honesty about her that I so appreciate.

We met in front of the Santa Maria Novella church, and I had no problem spotting her through the crowd. My Swedish aunt insists that in each country, people have a distinct walk. Many times she has shown me the difference between a Swedish walk and a Danish walk. I have no idea if this theory would hold up under scientific testing, but when I saw the Swedish Ilva walking, I new immediately it was her. Maybe it was instinct.

I instantly felt like I had found a long, lost and very delightful friend. She has a bright mind with a natural curiosity about everything. Our conversation covered so many topics, from illuminated texts to food to Alzheimer's. (We have both lost parents to that disease.)

We strolled through Florence, spending quite a bit of time in the San Lorenzo market - the great food hall. It was a feast for the eyes and senses. I was drooling over the products that are available there that we cannot get in the U.S., like these lovely porcinis:

...and capretto, or goat (tail and all!):

...and wild strawberries:
Of course there are some items I could certainly live without, like all parts of the cow and pig that I couldn't imagine eating! (No pictures necessary here.)

Ilva took me to a quiet lunch spot above the crowds with this incredible view:

I took a couple of photos of Ilva, but somehow I think the one of her behind the camera captures her spirit (and I think she is a bit shy of showing her face.)

Thanks Ilva for a great afternoon, and I look forward to our next meeting!


Ilva said...

You are to nice about me, do you know that? Thanks a lot for being such a nice person and it was really so nice to meet up with you, I hope we will see each other soon! And thanks for choosing that photo, I can just imagine what I looked like on the others....

erin :: the olive notes said...

wonderful market photos...although I'm glad I never saw the goat tails :)

The Passionate Palate said...

Ilva - You are far too modest, but you are welcome.

Erin - Thanks...more on our meeting next.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


That looks so fabulous! I am pining away for it now!


I'm so glad you had a wonderful time, and so very glad that you have shared it with us!

Welcome home, lady.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Christina said...

Oh wonderful! That view of the duomo in Florence is the identical view from the inn where ECG and I stayed when we were there. It's funny to think you were eating lunch within a block of where we stayed!

I'm so glad that you had such a lovely and fulfilling time.

Kalyn said...

That sounds like such a fun time. I just adore Ilva, and some day I'm going to go to Italy and visit her. I love the photo of her with the camera, you're right, it does capture her!