It is no secret that Florence is one of the best cities in Italy to eat. You can find fresh and local Tuscan fare at practically any restaurant or cafe you walk into. But the Biennial Enogastronomica Fiorentina is a food and wine event that is not to be missed. Held this past weekend, the Il Mercado Dei Sapori E Dei Mestieri (food and craft market) took over the entire Piazza Strozzi and Piazza della Repubblica, two of the most beautiful squares of Florence historical center. The large market was organized by Claridea, in collaboration with Florens 2012 (Florence Culture and Heritage week) and offered a selection of culinary excellence and artisan of the Tuscan tradition.

While I can’t bring you the delicious smells and the sounds of the festival, I have made an attempt to capture some visuals that would give you an insight in to this artistic food market.

There are 300 kinds of cheese produced in Italy, off which the Pecorino made with sheep milk is most famous in this region.

Flavored fruit infused alcohols can get to be very creative, while limoncello maintains its popularity around the world.

Another vendor sells varieties of cheese that have already been infused with flavors.

Some necessary ingredients in an Italian Kitchen: Here are marinated artichokes, red peppers and olives.

Must have lots of fresh garlic on hand!

A giant solid chocolate disc with bananas. It looks like a piece of art but you can cut a piece, buy by the weight, or take the whole thing home. Authentic hand made chocolates. You will not regret it!

Locally grown and compressed olive oil. You know what you are getting is the real stuff!

Truffles are sensual ingredients but need to be preserved well. Just taking a whim at these black and white truffles, you would be tempted to take some home! They were very reasonably priced too.

Roast stuffed suckling pig is a traditional Christmas entree in Europe. This may be a tradition traced to the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which falls before Christmas at the Winter Solstice.

The bakery shops attracted visitors through their bright displays of powdered sugar croissants, melted chocolate on pastries, unusual marzipan, and pistachio nut crusted cookies.

Work of art – piles of fresh out of the oven olive bread!

And my favorite of them all, a traditional Italian cannoli with crusty biscuit, light, fluffy and creamy center, coated with chopped pistachios on one end. Now that feels like heaven!