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by the time christmas is over, i will probably have gout. but with vestri chocolate, gout is worth it. kind of. let me explain.

a few years ago, i came to florence for the third time in my life to visit my friend daniel. but it may as well have been my first ever visit: never before had i experienced the city quite like this. until that point it had been duomo or die. this time, i was wandering into sant’ambrogio, san niccolo and santo spirito. i was eating at pizzaiulo, i was drinking on church steps in plastic cups. and, i was going to vestri. was this ‘real’ florence i was experiencing for the first time? well, not quite. what makes a city ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ is a more complicated issue. but it was a funner, and tastier, version.

now vestri is an artisan florentine chocolate shop. the cocoa comes straight from south america to the vestri family, who then turn it into something deep, dark and delicious. their store, tucked away in santa croce, consists of two small rooms. the counters and shelves are stocked with unique, branded chocolate products – from truffles, to chocolate spreads, to boxes of assorted chocolates – and they even have home made ice cream. so when christmas comes around, what better idea than to head to vestri and stock up on stocking fillers / presents for myself?

so this december, i’m going home with a suitcase full of vestri chocolate. ok, i exaggerate. (a bit.) customs might stop me but i think that’s about it. in my defence, vestri chocolate is delicious. also, if you take into consideration the fact that i’m having both families for christmas at ours this year, and hosting london’s most organised franco-british christmas ever, than you’ll understand why i’ll need something to help me take the edge off. (other than alcohol, obviously.) so hurry down to vestri, pick up your little tins of assorted chocolates, and take them home to loved ones / to keep for yourself this christmas season.

 

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is this cute or what?!

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and they have nice upholstered chairs.

oooooh.

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vestri

borgo degli albizzi, 11

firenze

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ps. might as well share their hot chocolate recipe from this one website:

http://www.divinacucina.com/vestri.html

‘5 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder (hershey’s european style, van hooten, or droste)
2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups milk
chili powder ( optional)

place the cocoa powder, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the milk in a saucepan and heat until the sugar melts, stirring well to remove any lumps. boil and add the remaining milk. heat to steaming, always whisking to incorporate the chocolate mixture.

turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. stir to melt the chocolate and let it sit. reheat to serve, stirring well before serving.

vestri serves the hot chocolate with a pinch of chili powder, or ginger if you like. you can also be really decadent and have your vestri’s ice cream, affogato, drowned in hot chocolate!

’tis the season…to enjoy!’

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