If you've ever been to Paris, one of the most exquisite places to visit is Fauchon in Place de la Madeleine. It is a well-known gourmet shop where you can purchase a wide variety of French delicacies. We have a smaller equivalent to Fauchon in Florence and it's called Pegna. They are even a purveyor of a small selection of Fauchon items.
Pegna is in via dello Studio which leads to the Duomo. It is probably the oldest and finest shop in the center of Florence. They sell many of the typical Italian items, of course, like toiletries, house cleaning supplies, pasta, cookies, coffee, flour, wine, fresh meats, cheese, and milk. But, you can also buy many of the finer items, such as fresh Siennese ricciarelli, foie gras, Sauternes, marrons glacés, Belgian chocolate (to eat as well as to cook with), and also many imported goods, like maple syrup, black treacle syrup (which is the same as dark molasses), packaged cookies from England, and .
Here in Italy, they something they call Vanillina, which is a vanilla-flavored powder as well as aroma, which is like the vanilla extract I'm used to except that it comes in small vials the size of perfume samples. I have some, but haven't used it yet. I'm still afraid that it's not the same as what they have in France or in the US. I figured that Pegna would have it since they have so many high-end French products.
I went to Pegna last week and picked up a few things. I enjoyed walking down each of the aisles and went down them all more than once. My husband thinks I'm a "food shopaholic." I went shopping for food three days in a row and when I got home, I could barely fit everything I bought into our small refrigerator. I couldn't go back out for a few days to buy anything. But, we did enjoy everything we ate!
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