Sunday in Chianti
We have the lovely pleasure of hosting Tony’s mom for several weeks in Florence. While Tony is at work, the two of us have been taking advantage of the Mercato Centrale and exploring new recipes every day, which I will eventually get around to posting soon! Get excited.
Last Sunday, Tony’s mom had the wonderful idea of taking a break from cooking and heading south towards the heart of Chianti to enjoy a traditional Tuscan style lunch at La Cantinetta di Rignana. It was PERFECTION, to say the very least.
The weather was perfect, a clear and sunny 60 degrees F, the drive was definitely off the beaten path, about an hour outside of Florence, through narrow and windy gravel roads to a quaint and romantic restaurant with beautiful panoramic views of the rolling Tuscan hills and wineries… And the food was OUTSTANDING… Traditional, simple, Tuscan-style dishes cooked over an open flame and presented beautifully. Between the drive, the view, the ambiance, the wine, the food, the company… It was most definitely the top five meals of my life and my favorite memory/adventure in Florence so far.
Now, Italians do not mess around with their Sunday lunch– a tradition I can easily get on board with. Over the span of 3+ hours you are served 4-5 courses and in between courses you take a walk around, enjoy the view, or a cigarette break. It is an afternoon of pure bliss, I tell you, and is not to be rushed.
We started our meal with a bottle of Prosecco while we reviewed the Italian-only menu. Thankfully, between all of our grocery shopping excursions and Tony’s Italian we could decipher most of the menu! Luckily, we also have access to Google Translate when all else fails. We started our lunch with an assortment of antipasti; pâté, crostini misti, pecorino, parmesan, various types of salami, prosciutto, lardo (think bacon, but ONLY the fat of the bacon) and other cured meats, marinated olives, shallots, artichokes, garlic, pears, and honey.
After finishing our second bottle of Prosecco, we were served our primi piatti, pappardelle with wild boar and ravioli with potatoes, pesto, and pine nuts. Simple, quality ingredients with a spectacular taste. I think my favorite was the ravioli. We were then served our wine, which was one of the most buttery wines I’ve ever tasted. Also, since I don’t know a thing about wine, I have no idea what we ordered, but it was something from the region. After our pasta and BEFORE our main dish, we were served a baked tomino cheese with freshly shaved black truffles, since we clearly couldn’t get enough cheese during our antipasto course!
Once we inhaled our second serving of cheese, they brought out a perfectly cooked Bistecca Fiorentina with mixed radicchio, roasted potatoes, and the typical fagioli all’olio, which is just white beans and olive oil. For the record, everything is medium-rare/rare here, so don’t ever expect a meat to come out “well done!” Also, please note that this is the Bistecca after we devoured it… We were too excited to take a picture when they first served it to us.
To finish off the meal we shared not one, not two, but THREE desserts. A decadent chocolate and pear torte, tiramisu, panna cotta, and espresso. Also, did I mention Tony can eat more than anyone I’ve ever met?!
If you ever find yourself in Florence, you MUST spend a Sunday in Chianti. It was absolute perfection. Buuuut, if you’re up to the challenge you can always make a Tuscan-style spread yourself this Sunday for friends and family! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will be sure to get new recipes up soon, but for now iPhone photos of our meal will have to do. ;)