Food Adventures

Friday, July 13, 2007


My great love for this fluffy, rich pastry filled with pastry cream is well-known by now, so it's just right that I should post an update on my bomboloni research. Since I arrived in Italy 2 weeks ago, I have eaten at least one bombolone a day. I have limited myself in this way only because there are so many other delectable things to try, but the limit is not easy to abide by every day.

Despite my regular consumption of bomboloni and other Italian pastries, I have not managed to learn the art of gracefully holding a pastry in one hand, sipping a cappuccino, and chatting all at the same time, while getting no sugar on my face. I guess I am not truly Italian after all. While Italians seem to have to problem eating their pastries very gracefully while standing at the bar and having a discussion about one thing or another, my research involves a lot of lip licking and whiping sugar off my chin. Clearly, I need more practice.

Last year, I ate my bomboloni at Robiglio in Via de'Servi in Florence and this year that was the case until last Friday. That day, we had packed the suitcase and cameras as we were going to Giglio for the weekend and, when we left the apartment, Michael started looking for a taxi. "Without breakfast?!?," I asked, horrified. I am sure he thought we would stop somewhere once we picked up the car, but I was not ready to run the risk of not getting a bombolone. So, as he rolled the big suitcase down the cobblestone streets of Firenze, I decided to 'compromise' and have breakfast at the closest place I knew had bomboloni, Rivoire. What a breakthrough in my research work! One bite of Rivoire's bomboloni made it clear that they were better than Robiglio's: better ratio of dough to pastry cream and more yellow, sweeter dough. When fresh, they are like little clouds, fluffy and soft, and every bite is a real pleasure.

I could not believe that we made this important discovery by accident and decided to test further to make sure that our impressions had not been affected by the fact that we had dragged a heavy suitcase on cobblestone for several blocks. So, after returning from Giglio (where I also did some bomboloni research), as soon as Rivoire was open again (they are closed on Monday), I went back and I have returned every day since then.

In the mornings, Rivoire belongs to the locals: as Piazza della Signoria is waking up and people are going to work and deliveries are being made, the locals gather at the bar and chat just like in any Italian small bar. Later, Rivoire and Piazza della Signoria will be full of tourists speaking a variety of languages, but for an hour or so in the morning, there is a feeling of calm and the divine smell of pastry. As I stand at the bar and observe the exchanges between the barista and the regulars, I know that these will be some of my fondest memories of Italy and this magical city that is starting to feel like home.


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