A creamy dreamy crunchy sweet rainy afternoon with a Florentine and my fave brew coffee. Was so inspiring that I am writing about it! Sometimes I wish had a job of being a judge for chocolate…, what a dream job that would be. Sigh.
Florentines are a delicious mixture of toasted nuts and candied fruit that are coated with a sweet sticky mixture of honey and sugar and baked until golden brown and bubbly. The crowning touch is a layer of melted chocolate. These palm-sized rounds of brittle are covered in thinly sliced almonds.
When you hear the name 'Florentine', you instantly think it must be from Florence Italy. Unfortunately, I don’t have the vaguest clue where is its origin from. I know its very popular in Europe and comes in many forms.
My introduction to Florentine was by my brother who absolutely dotes on these, and I think he discovered this sweet delight in London.
One form of a Florentine consists of a layer of pre baked pastry, topped with the nut and candied fruit mixture, and finished with melted chocolate. Another form of Florentine is a cookie, thin caramelized disc of candied fruit and nuts also with a layer of chocolate on one side. And then there is the Florentine La Dolce Vita - a thick layer of caramelized fruit and nuts that is baked in a cake pan and finished with a layer of melted chocolate. Some people here call it “chikki” (??!!)….
Taste one if you haven’t, and then tell me, how awesome was it really…have it with a latte or a black coffee, the combine is delicious.
A heads up to all coffee lovers who read this post: Italians eat very well, and quite rightly take great pride in their cuisine. Possibly one of the most offensive ways of ending a meal is by asking for a cappuccino ( especially when with the Italiano’s). Coffee to them is really a snack – a large cup of warm milk, and very filling. Ending your meal with a cappuccino (apart from constituting a violent assault on your digestive system!) implies that you have not eaten well or sufficiently. If you cannot manage an espresso then try learning this phrase: “Un caffè americano con tantissima acqua calda, e un po’ di latte freddo a parte.” (An espresso coffee with lots of hot water, and some cold milk on the side)!!! Any Italian waiter worth his salt will call this “dishwater” once out of your hearing...or perhaps even well within your hearing! But you will get something approaching an Anglo-Saxon watery coffee that you can drink, and that doesn’t (drastically) upset the cook or the hosts! J