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i’m back! albeit not as early in the day as i would have liked. can’t blame a girl for trying to write a paper on railways and the holocaust, can you?

originally i wanted my first post of the new year to discuss my recent skiing adventures in cortina – a resort where the fur-to-human ratio is worrying, but where the food is so delicious you’ll forgive everything.

but, since the photos from our trip  are still on phil’s iphone, i will have to keep my cortina-inspired posts for next week. and i’m almost glad; because this blog can thus re-center on it’s main interest: chocolate éclairs. no, i joke! it’s florence, of course. (but with chocolate éclairs.)

because i have travelled far and wide. well, in my youth anyway. my parents uprooted me from the paris suburbs to go to…. oakmont, pennsylvania. suburb of pittsburgh, pennsylvania. the latter being home to the pirates (baseball) and steelers (american football). the former being home to a big golf course, taco pizza, and vanilla-cream-filled-sugar-powdered doughnuts. (i do realise none of these things originate from oakmont itself; but they do exist there.) and yes, in my youth, after i saw romeo and juliette, i fantasised that leonardo dicaprio was filming a movie in oakmont, took a shine to me, and we had our first date sharing one of those doughnuts in the oakmont bakery. and yes, i was a chubby child. and no, leo and i have never been on a date. but, we can all agree, it’s a cute story.

i digress. my point is that one of the things i missed the most about france was chocolate éclairs. absolutely effing delicious. i poopoo those fancy deserts, when all one really needs is iced chocolate, chocolate creme patissiere, and choux pastry.

as a result of this five-year abstinence (that was the amount of time we stayed in oakmont), it has been somewhat of a quest in my life to enjoy a chocolate eclair as soon as the occasion rises. of course, my tastes have somewhat changed, coffee eclairs becoming a recent favourite. i call it growing up. and in 2011, my new year resolution was to learn how to make coffee eclairs. and i did it. and they were from julia child’s cook book. and they were amazing.

so when i entered the famous gilli coffee house on piazza della repubblica and i spotted eclairs, i knew what i had to do; except that they didn’t have coffee. only chocolate. interested in recreating the moments of my youth, and keeping up with this lifelong obsession, i ordered one.

let me tell you this: best decision of my life.

those bad boys are like a highway to heaven. you will never regret it. in fact, gilli seems to have some other nice things – delicious even. a glazed chestnut here, a mille feuille there. but it is their chocolate eclairs – small, stout, superb – which make a trip to florence worth it. the icing is thick and strong, the creme patissiere soft yet firm. the choux holds it all together.

magic.

Image

gilli from the outside

Image

gillie from the inside.

gilli

piazza della repubblica

(tried to get chocolate eclair photo

but got too excited

and just ate it.)

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