Easter Eggstravagance in Florence

by Rebecca Bricker on April 2, 2012

Just before Easter, you can smell chocolate in the air outside of Vestri in Florence. I don’t think I’m imagining it.

Vestri is a little artisan chocolate shop that you might miss (at Borgo Degli Albizi 11R). But how could you not stop in your tracks at the sight of this…

Baskets by the front door are laden with beautifully wrapped chocolate eggs filled with surprises. Some eggs are the size of footballs or bigger. Some are almost too pretty to eat – swathed with colorful foil and elegant ribbons, perched on satin pedestals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this time of year, elaborately packaged Easter eggs abound in the confectionery shops around Florence, which has had a love affair with chocolate that dates back to Cosimo III de’ Medici, who became the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1670. Cosimo instructed his court chemists to formulate exotic recipes for chocolate, in a sweet game of political one-upmanship against Spain, which had brought cocoa beans from the New World and mastered the art of chocolate-making. Cosimo’s chemists created a jasmine-flavored chocolate drink that wowed the courts of Europe and whose recipe was a state secret until the end of the Medici reign. Vestri has reproduced the Medici recipe with a drink called Cioccolata del Granduca.

Who could pass by…

    this corner of chocolate heaven?

                  NOT ME! :)

I should also mention that Vestri’s gelato is divine, too.

 

 

 

{ 13 comments }

Thom Parrott-Sheffer April 3, 2012 at 5:06 am

There is a fascinating book about chocolate entitled “The Emperors of Chocolate”, which is about Milton Hershey and Forest Mars. They also look at the history of chocolate in Europe. It is making my mouth water … Happy Eastertide.

Rebecca Bricker April 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Must read that book! Does it come with samples??? Happy Easter to you!

Pat April 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

I am a chocoholic, the darker, the better! Living in Switzerland, of course, I am spoiled with some of world’s best chocolate. Like your little shop in Florence, I am astounded by the window displays of chocolate that looks ALMOST too good to eat! Happy Easter!

Rebecca Bricker April 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Yes, dark chocolate is the best. Swiss, French, Belgian, Italian, Mexican – I’m open-minded about the source. 😉

Brian Luckhurst April 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

I must admit I wouldn’t have put Florence alongside chocolate, thanks for the piece.

Rebecca Bricker April 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Apparently Cosimo was a chocoholic!

Patrick Bones April 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

Nice article. Fun to read. Great pictures and I love chocolate! The darker the better! Best wishes! PCB

Rebecca Bricker April 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Good to know – I’ll tell the Easter Bunny!

Naomi April 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Alas…as I sit here eating my Hershey’s morsels (truly, I am – they’re a client of ours!), I dream of Vestri and Florence!! Thanks for the chocolate fix, Rebecca! :-)

Rebecca Bricker April 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

As I was writing this post, I was nibbling chocolate, too! 😉

Thom April 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

FYI – you might add Spain to your list. There is a little bakery and chocolatier in Seville that is absolutely fantastic … I would go back to Seville just for this shop. :)

Rebecca Bricker April 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

And what would this little shop be called? Do tell.

Barbara Barrett July 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Enjoying your blog and now you know where I live !!! Right up the street from Vestri.

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