My two favorite cuisines are Mexican and Italian…very different I know.
I really fell in love with Italian culture when I was in college and took a 3 week trip to Sicily. Most of the day was spent in a small conference room with our professor teaching us Italian. The rest of the day was spent exploring churches, monuments, etc. I wish I could remember the names of all of the beautiful places we saw…what did I remember? The food of course! The pasta, the pizza, the pastries, the gelato, the espresso…my favorite pizza while I was there was eggplant and prosciutto…kind of hard to come by here in FL. The same goes for fresh breads, pastries and really good espresso.
Until now…there’s a small Italian café and bakery on St. Pete Beach that I have only been to once in the past 6 years. But I’ll be going a lot more often now! La Casa del Pane used to be located next to a not so delicious Italian restaurant in a building that was easy to miss. They recently moved up Gulf Blvd to a bigger, brighter space. Jon and I had breakfast there earlier this week before I had to go into work.
Have you ever seen a more beautiful sight in the morning?
We both had a macchiato (mine a single and his a double). And each had the ham, egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. And we shared an almond croissant.
Everything was fresh and delicious. The bread was soft with a crunchy crust and the croissant was sweet and flakey.
La Casa del Pane has a variety of pastries, cookies, breads and pizzas. They make fresh sandwiches and salads as well. There are plenty of Italian grocery items as well if you’re looking for a good olive oil or some hard to find Italian brands (Kinder anyone?) If you’re dining in there’s an espresso bar or a long community table where you can read the morning paper or people watch. There’s also outside seating for whenever we get some cooler days here.
Later that same day Jon tagged along with me to a networking event at Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft. I didn’t even know this place existed, but I’m so glad I know now! It’s located in a building across the street from the famous Mazzaro’s Italian Market. Wonderland is a florist and gift shop combined. They have a lot of cute gifts…keeping this in mind for Christmas gifts!
Wonderland does flowers for any kind of special event or you can pick up an arrangement if you just like having fresh flowers in the house. But their specialty? Arrangement classes! Yes, they do monthly classes where one of their florists walks you through how to make your own beautiful floral arrangement and then you get to take it home. How fun!
After a yummy dinner catered by Mazzaro’s (chicken, mashed potatoes, Cesar salad and cannoli’s) we were taken through the steps on how to make our very own Fall floral arrangement.
As we went through each step we were told about each flower and greenery that we were using, it’s characteristics and how to best handle it. Very informative!
Our finished product!
Jon and I are definitely not pros, but we had a lot of fun making our arrangement. I definitely want to come back and do another one!
Do you have a favorite Italian café you like to go to?
Have you ever made your own floral arrangement?