THE PRINCE CHARMING OF CHEESES
going to the market on a saturday morning is one of my favorite things to do. when i was little and living in a midwestern city, we used to always go to the farmers' market because it was the one place you could get fresh produce directly from the farmers. now i am spoiled and have several choices of markets to go to everyday of the week. but there is something about the hustle and energy of a saturday morning market that is unique. if you get there early enough, things are quit calm and both vendors and clients are still waiting for the cappuccino caffeine kick to set in. as it gets later, the vendors start singing out offers: "artichokes, 5 for 2 euro", “juicy lemons from sorrento", "the best radicchio trevisano of the season". yesterday morning we chose to go to the sant'ambrogio market. the main markets in florence are san lorenzo and sant’ambrogio. i usually go to san lorenzo where i have my trusted butcher, fish monger and veggie vendor. but when i need a smaller more personal environment, i prefer sant’ambrogio especially during the warmer months: almost all of the fruit and vegetable stands are open air and the small covered market hosts the butchers, bakers a couple of bars and a restaurant. today’s main purchase: “buccia di rospo” cheese from la fattoria di corzano e paterno . the farm is south of florence, just outside the town of san casciano, and was originally purchased by the swiss architect wendelin gelpke. he died in 2001 but his family still runs the estate. their artisan specialties: wine, olive oil, sheep cheeses and an “agriturismo”. i will be visiting the estate soon (when it stops raining) and will be able to give you a proper recap then! back to the cheese: the name “buccia di rospo” means “frog skin”, which is a pretty obvious name choice since the rind of the cheese does look like a bumpy toad! the “buccia di rospo” was actually originally a production mistake. but it was such a success that it turned into one of their best selling cheeses and is now on the menu of several of the best local restaurants as well. i hate to try to describe it, you really should taste it, but just to give you an idea: it’s similar to a taleggio in consistency and flavor but much more delicate, almost sweeter. does that help?!
la fattoria di corzano e paterno
san pancrazio (about 5 minutes south of san casciano val di pesa)
via paterno 10
tel. 055 8248179.