My Kind of Bar Hop

After spending an entire afternoon on the history of traditional Italian restaurants, the topic changed to bars and panini shops. A “bar” in Italy simply refers to place that sells coffee (and typically, pastries).

But first, because we were going to be focusing on pastry, our teacher surprised us with several industrially made cookies. In a weird way, it was good to feel at home (a country laden with pop-tarts, oreos, and processed cereal). And so…obviously, I ate some.

And I liked it.

The first cookie that we ate was a simple shortbread cookie (called Tarallucci) produced by the Barilla company, Mulino Bianco.

Next, we partook in the “Abbracci,” which in Italian literally means, “hug.” It was a light shortbread flavored vanilla cookie twisted with a chocolate flavor cookie. Even the name is cute.

So, I ate one.

Next, the Pan di Stelle (which translates to “Star Bread”) kind of sounds like it may be healthy.

Bread, right?

The cookie tasted like the outer cookie shell of an Oreo, which made me crave the filling that obviously SHOULD have been inside. Overall, though, the stars on the cookie really made me smile.

We then ventured on a “bar hop” throughout the city center. Our first stop was Paszkowski. First opened in 1846 as Caffee Centrale, it passed ownership in 1904 to the Polish Paszkowski family (who turned it into what it is today).

In the first decades of the 20th century it became a meeting spot for local scholars and artists. It is still one of Florence’s most elegant cafes, known internationally for its evening music concerts. The café was even declared a National Monument in 1991.

We were able to go inside and witness the beauty of the establishment. The baked goods were absolutely beautiful. Shown above is the Tuscan specialty “Schiatta Con Uva” (which is focaccia bread that has been topped with  seeded grapes and coated in sugar before baked).

Paszkowski studel.

Beautiful marzipan fruits.

Bomboloni with pastry cream.

Which looked so good that I got one.

Filled with probably the BEST pastry cream I’ve ever had, this Italian donut bite was lightly sugared and left a wonderful taste in my mouth.


Jessica ordered the brioche con chocolate, which was filled with a delicate chocolate pastry cream that she literally couldn’t stop talking about.

We literally talked about our pastry creams for the next 2 hours.

And, I tried my first coffee ever. I thought that since I was attempting to pretend to be all independent and adult like on this trip, trying out some coffee would be a mature decision. I was encouraged to give cappuccino a chance, before I took the leap of faith with expresso.

Let’s just say, me and cappuccino are not friends. In fact, I think it will take quite a while to develop our relationship considering what she has done to me.


It’s crap.

And yet, I have started to develop and obsession with tiramisu, coffee buttercream, and expresso flavored desserts.

Dessert…..well…At least I have my priorities right.

Inside of Paszkowski, the decorations are straight out of 1920′s. The chandeliers are still the original product are worth…well…they are worth alot.

Paszkowski, Piazza Del Republica, 31-35/r

The Procacci Truffle Company, a family truffle business established in 1885, was known for selling mini truffle sandwiches (Panini Tartufati)and truffles in all forms. Famous among local Florentines who go to grab a quick “bite,” this establishment is completely unique, great for gifts, and smells absolutely divine.

Get yourself a mini truffle panini,

Procacci, Via Tornabuoni 64 / r

Enrico Rivoire, a Torinese Royal chocolatier, opened his chocolate factory here in 1872 (Rivoire). This is where Florentine locals first learned how to taste chocolates and eat the traditional Savoy “chocolate in a cup” (commonly known as hot chocolate). The shop quickly became famous, thanks not just to its excellent chocolates but also to its great location.

The shop toasts their own cacao beans to create their unique product and offer a variety of unique products.

They STILL toast their own cacao beans…and apparently…the hot chocolate has got it going on.

Rivoire, Piazza Della Signoria, 5/r

Located on Via Dei Cimatori, the I Fratellini is a famous panini shop in Florence. It’s small, there is always a line, and (aparently… because I haven’t tasted it yet) is really good.

Literally, the place is a hole in the wall. This is the entire establishment, with enough room for about two men to produce sandwiches.

And there is Jessica, doing what Jessica does. She really has this thing for getting into my pictures.

I mean, her muscles do look big here.

Which is pretty cool.

Maybe that was her point….hmm.

They have a set menu to order from and all the paninis are under 4 Euros. All of the ingredients are fresh and are displayed for all to see.

And when I was unable to stand because of the hunger than had quickly overtaken my body, we stopped at another famous panini shop on Via De Neri, All’antico Vinaioo

And judging from the smells, the display of Italian cold cuts, and the ridiculously populated area, I knew this would be good.

And holy freaking cow.

It was.

We opted for the Italian Finocchino, a cold cut made from finely ground pork and its fat, laced with fennel, and aged for well…a long time. Normally, I would NEVER choose this. (Escpecially if there was a lean pork or chicken option). But…

I’m in Italy…

I’ve already gained 6 pounds.

And well…I JUST. DON”T. CARE.

We asked the panini man to give us whatever was best on it, because, as you can see below, there were a plethora of freshly made sauces, spreads, cheeses, and fresh herbs.

Without hesitation, he said that the artickokes and pecorino spread was without question the best to put on the finocchini.

So we were like…yeah, do what you gotta do.

Seriously. Wow.

I love eating things that in excess would cause me to suffer from morbid obesity.

And…I’ll probably do it again.

Hello 10 pounds of excess.

I will love you and cherish you forever.

And there were LOTS of people. I’m going to assume that they were all thinking the same thing.

Bar hop: successful.

Ciao for now!