We had some good laughs in Poggibonsi, a Tuscany town south of Florence.
Of course, that’s primarily because we got caught in those traffic round-abouts and sometimes couldn’t decide which exit we needed. Third time around, and the laughter got louder! “Go around again, Christine.” (Ah, two crazy Americanos, Carol and Jan; and two nutty Norwegians, Christine and Inger-Anne!)
We were looking for the exit towards San Gimignano, the location of our villa, Il Borghetto. (You can read my earlier post on Il Borghetto here.) We also needed to find the entrance to the PAM, a local grocery store, because we needed some supplies for our villa stay. We could see the PAM, but we couldn’t see the entrance.
But discovery became part of the adventure.
Just after taking the Poggibonsi Nord exit of the Sienna-Florence Autostrada, we found ourselves on a desperate mission to locate a restroom for two members of our party.
Our first off-highway possibility was a bakery to our immediate left. Christine, our intrepid driver, whipped our Mercedes SUV (!) across the road into their uphill parking lot. It was near closing time, so we didn’t investigate all of their goodies, but mentally promised to visit the next morning for breakfast possibilities. (They graciously let us use their facilities.)
The next morning, we visited the bakery again and were not disappointed.
We entered and were greeted by a friendly owner, his assistants, and a dozen locals. We ogled all the mouth-watering possibilities in the showcases: limone tarte, carnetto (sweet croissants), pizza, la sfogliatella (filled, flaky-layered pastries), crostata di frutta (fruit-filled rustic tarts), tiramisu, amaretti (small ameretto-flavored cookies), and so much more.
Big round loaves of crusty bread in almost-ready-to-tumble piles, large rectangles of rosemary accented foccacia, and baskets of crusty rolls (il panino) filled all available space behind the service counter.
The foccacia, as large as cookie sheets, stood in a rack behind the counter. Tell the clerk how many inches you want (or show her), and she cuts it to order. I got “about this much.” It was delicious with nothing more than its natural flavorings: buttered, salted top with rosemary accent.
We went from case to case pointing out delicious-looking possibilities. Decision, decisions. In the end, we all settled for something different.
Our bakery selection and a cup of cappuchino, espresso, or caffe macchiato (espresso with cream) made for an hour’s entertainment and a good breakfast that left us smiling for the rest of the day.
And better yet, after a few days, we figured out the round-abouts and could find our San Gimignano exit on our first try!
What would you like to try at this little Italian bakery?