Posts Tagged With: Gattavecchi

Top 10 Things We Ate in Tuscany

Il Pozzo RavioliI’m off to the Island I like to call Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, but meanwhile here is something to chew on…

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!Sostanza Chicken

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.

Da Ruggero

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!

Lucca - Cecina

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.

Charcuterie Board at L'Incontro

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

Italy - 2013 969

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.

Gattavecchi - Bruschetta

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.

Da Roberto - Insalata lagumi

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.

La Tellina - Poricini

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

Guastini - Ravioli

Categories: Italy, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gattavecchi – Flavor Carnival in Montepulciano

View from MontepulcianoSo where to start?  Great drives, great scenery, great architecture, great George Costanza like statues, GREAT EATS.  What should my first post about this trip be?  I find my answer in my wallet.  A card from Lilian Oliveira, the passionate Brazilian cook at Gattavecchi.  The card momentarily takes me back to Lilian’s kitchen and the moment she gives me the card.  You could see it in her eyes, as if she’s saying “You start with me, little man”.

But lets go back for a second, 2 hours earlier for the “Favor” that led us to Lilian.  We get one ravioli, a small sample of Pici, Tagliatelle, and Pappardelle that we just made from scratch at our fun cooking class in Le Logge del Vignola.  Not enough for a full meal.  As good as it was, the idea that we almost ate our own cooking on that gorgeous day in Montepulciano instead of the once in a lifetime La Cucina di Lilian, makes me shiver slightlyGattavecchi

The Gattavecchi Cantina, lies just outside the city center, an oasis far away from the tourists, at least it seems. The serene garden setting makes you feel like you’ve just driven 15 kilometers (far away in Tuscan country side standards) to eat here.  Step inside and you are transported to a 12th century convent where you’ll find a large convent dining room and the wine cellars.  Daniela Gattavecchi, who gave us a little tour, along with her 2 brothers, are 4th generation proud wine makers.

But we are here for the food.  4 outstanding dishes including a best of the trip nominee.  The salumi platter was one of the best of a very salumi filled trip.  The addictive truffled salami alone elevates this one to another level.  Then, best dish of the trip nominee, an assorted Bruschetta plate we’ve never seen – died and gone to Bruschetta heaven.  Salsa verde with melted cheese, savory liver pâté (best of the trip – Lilian makes it with wine and fruit), all kinds of great concoctions in a cup including a potatoes-onion-bell pepper thingy (blogger technical term), and my favorite white beans spread with bread and veggies (ribolita?).   A plate as spectacular as the views around itGattavecchi - SalumiGattavecchi - Bruschetta

A second course of excellent gnocchi with mozzarella and light tomato sauce, and Taglietelle with Cinghiale (wild boar) ragu, a carnival in my mouth, capped this memorable meal.  All washed down of course with a great tasting of Gattavecchi’s Rosso di Montepulciano, Nobile di Montepulciano, and Nobile Riserva.

Gattavecchi - GnocchiGattavecchi - Taglietelle

One unforgettable moment was a visit to Lilia’s kitchen.  It didnt take long to see that passion and realize that “We are not in Kansas anymore”, or NYC where I’m from.  You just dont see this in an ordinary looking place like this in America where you may see perhaps 2 people chatting about the new record they just set in Doodle Jump on the last smoking break.  In comparison, you have an army, a team led by a passionate cook that will not let anything less than perfect leave that kitchen.  A kitchen filled only with the freshest, and finest raw ingredients.   An eye opener.

Cant recommend this gem in Montepulciano highly enough.  And special thanks to the local who recommended it.  You know who you areGattavecchi Gattavecchi Gattavecchi Gattavecchi

Categories: Italy, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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