Pollo al Burro in Sostanza (Florence) – Call it chicken with butter, butter with Chicken, doenst really matter. Two generous breasts are cooked over coal before pan fried with eggs and one stick of butter. Thats still 2 sticks less than the similarly celebrated BBQ Shrimp at Mr B’s in New Orleans, but rich nonetheless. The result is tender and addictive goodness. With the massive Sostanza Bistecca Fiorentina side by side, for the first time ever my fork was reaching for the bird over a well cooked medium rare steak. Long live pollo!
Pappa al Pomodoro at Da Ruggero (Florence). Love on first bite. My first Pappa al Pomodoro of the trip might as well have been my last. The waiter reassure me that this is one of best Pappas in town, so who am I to argue. Who knew tomatoes and stale bread can taste so good. And I could have easily included some of Ruggero’s killer pastas (with a nice kick) here as well.
Cecina at Da Felice (Lucca). Oldest Pizza in town, and the most popular with locals. We sampled some great pizzas, one with salami, and another one with prosciutto that blended oh so nicely with the rest of the ingredients. But I came for the Cecina, thin pancake like or crepe if you will, made of chickpea flour. Delicious! Add a little bit of seasoning, Delicious-er!
Charcuterie Board at L’Incontro (Volterra). Holy smokes this was good. Leave it to local Annie Adair from Tuscan Tours to take us to this treasured local bar. A feast for all senses that included great Salami, Prosciutto and all sorts of Pecorino cheeses (not seen below). But the highlight was a first-rate Porchetta they just happened to have prepared that day. Highly recommend having lunch here when in town.
Pecorino at Podere Il Casale (Near Pienza). Like eating cheese for the first time. The views did not hurt, but the smells and flavors from the Sheep’s milk cheese like the grape aged or walnut leaves age was nothing like we ever had. And did I mention the views? Oh yes, looks like I did
Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli at Il Pozzo (San Angelo in Colle). (Top Picture). Magical dish in another magical setting in stunning San Angelo in Colle. Watch the monks sing nearby at Sant’Antimo abbey before having this beauty with butter and sage. This is a typical Tuscan dish you can have anywhere, but it was especially memorable here, as was the marvelous Pici. Or Pinci as they call it in nearby Montalcino, a town too proud (of their Brunello) to simply call it like everyone else. ;)
Bruschetta at Gattavecchi (Montepulciano). Carnival in my belly! Fantastic Salsa Verde with melted cheese, savory liver pâté (best of the trip – Lilian the Brazilian cook makes it with wine and fruit), all kinds of great concoctions in a cup including potatoes-onion-bell pepper thingy (foodie technical term), and my fave, white beans spread with bread and veggies – ribolita. Heavenly stuff at this heavenly city.
Insalata Lagumi at Da Roberto (Montisi). Simple, beautiful, and highly palatable. One man show Roberto lets the ingredients do the talking. 5 different beans with pecorino, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, carrots, stem of garlic, olive oil. All work together like a beautiful symphony, showcasing Roberto’s true passion. The wrong place to ask “Whats good here” in this Slow Food Ambassador’s place.
Polenta with Porcini at La Tellina (Siena). On a Porcini filled trip this was most memorable. Grilled to perfection Polenta with these delicate, great textured Porcini, a nice app before the great seafood arrives. All prepared with a lot of love from the family that runs this picture perfect trattoria.
Ravioli with pigeon from Guastini (Valiano). This was a tough pick since everything in this meal of the trip was so good. I could have easily inserted the glorious fennel crusted duck, or the divine Tagliata, or the sinful fried rabbit I suppose. But these pigeon stuffed Ravioli with 2 succulent pieces did the trick and more. No wonder this place was full with locals