So we’re now in our 4th week in tuscany; and while the charms never cease, it can happen that one feels just the teensiest homesick. When this happens, we may be forgiven for being drawn, even hypnotised by an array of disorderly (and quite frankly embarrassing) cravings.
The other day, my daughter Ara was in one such state and was unrelenting in her demand for Baked Beans. She began with tears, escalated to screams, resorted to emotional blackmail and eventually attempted suicide.
I empathised.
I had noticed on one of our many trips to the various Coop fi (Tuscany’s answer to Waitrose), that they stocked Lea Perrins Worcestershire sauce… however there had been no sign of Baked beans.
But my thinking went like this; if they stock lea Perrins, Someone, somewhere must have had the bright idea of importing Baked Beans for the vast Expat community known to swarm the florentine hills.
I was correct.
With a quick google search, I was rewarded with an oasis of Anglo-saxon and American produce provided by one smart american who had recently opened a negozio in central Florence. With promises of all kinds of forbidden fruits; Cheerios and Lucky charms, peanut butter and Jelly, root beer… and yes Baked Beans for us Brits. Eureka!
So we got the address and promptly drove into Florence. Parked in the train station and meandered our way through the medina-style cobbled vias of Florence. Past grand stone archways and narrow alleys, all the while avoiding Vespas.
Finally we got to our destination… To find it did not exist! ;'(
This was so very disappointing.
Still, we were right opposite the Bibliotica Oblate where they do the best lunches according to … EVERYONE. so we consoled ourselves with some cappuccino and a great view of Florence’s roof tops.
We decided we couldn’t quit yet, there MUST be Baked Beans somewhere in this town!
With a second google search we discovered, that there could be some Baked Beans hidden in a Chinese shop…
Where is this Chinese shop? Well, its in the Arab quarter near the station of course.
We make our way back.
This Chinese shop turns out to be just as elusive as its American counter-part, but we are not giving up. Eventually after trying a variety of ethnic stores we do find the aforementioned Chinese shop – and yes… IT HAS BAKED BEANS!! Hallelujah!
But hang on… this is the right address, but its not where we expected it? why is this?
This is where Florence continues to be exceptional. In GB we may have odd numbers on one side of our streets and even numbers on the other. But in Florence, unlike any other city, there are always 2 addresses. The street numbers are always followed either by a small ‘r’ or a small ‘n’. Signifying rosso or nero (red or black). Now for the fun bit; the same number in red will be no where near the same number in black. 6red for example could be between 74black and 75black. Why this is? nobody knows.
But I like to think of it, as some kind of poetic reference to life being a game of roulette (or something like that).