Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dario's for Sunday lunch

Welcome to Panzano in Chianti. Home of three things, Vineyards, Dario's Antica Macelleria Cecchini + his new restaurant SOLOCICCIA. A modern restaurant built into an old building across the street from the Macelleria (butcher shop).

Yes, that's right. There is a group of men serenading Dario, his customers and people walking by. It's surreal. I'm told it's quite customary here. It's like a little Felini film but with meat and friends instead of breasts and midgets.

The butcher shop just closed, usually it's packed with customers who also happen to be neighbors and friends. Even if you walk in for the first time you will be greeted warmly and most likely offered some wine and meaty snacks. Look at the 3 rolls of wonderful lovely porchetta. Look at the simple display. He only has two animals served in his shop, the best cows and pigs available. They use every bit to produce simply made and high quality products. The only other products for sale seem to be his butchers blend salt (rosemary, pepper and sea salt) and a red pepper jelly that is out of this world. I know the creator but as of now that may be private info.

SOLOCICCIA offers only family style meals consisting of a 30 euro 6 course meat tasting menu with vegetables, wines, cake, coffee and digestif. Based on local cuisine and Dario's whim.
Click on the image below to see his welcome message & todays menu. I am too full to translate.

One dish was seared fillets of Florentine steak. It was amazing. the meat was perfect and barely cooked. Actually almost raw inside but the meat is so good and safe it is always eaten that way here. Slight char on the outside, thin line of cooked greyish coloring and then roast beef red. No blood because there are no chemicals or steriods in the cow to retain water (or so I am told).

Just know that as you taste it, you will instantly know you have never eaten proper, correct beef before this. The taste, my god, the taste of it. Full, lean, soft meaty flavor. The rest of the dishes included boiled beef salad with celery and fennel, seared barely ground beef studded with rosemary branch, breaded beef fillet with ragu, fried beef fillets with fried red onions and fennel crostini with ground meat. All you need is a glass of chianti reserve and some friends.
Speaking of friends, I was there with some new ones. This pic was taken in Dario's butcher shop after our 2 hour lunch.
from the left:

Walter & Manuel. Both managing directors of Filippo Berio of the UK and Florence offices.
Dario Cecchini. Proprietor, Master butcher, World famous personality.
Jonathan. Your guide
Daniel D. Friend of Judy (Divinacucina). Living in Florence. Sculptor by way of San Fransisco. He took the bus with me up from Florence. My guide for the day. Good man, good appetite.
R. Forget his name but this is the guitar hero and lead singer from outside the shop.

As we sat down to lunch at a table set for 14, Walter and Manuel sat next to us and we struck up a conversation. Thankfully we all spoke English. After a few minutes Manuel broke out a superb bottle of Marchese Antinori, Chianti classico riserve 2003. Is that a great new friend or what? Spent the meal talking about the wines, foods and travel of Italy. They even drove us back to Florence but since they were late for the big game (Florence vs. Milan), they dropped us off at the stadium. No worries, we hopped a train 1 stop to Florence and I was home by 815pm. I know they will be reading this. Thanks again for a excellent day in the country and thank you for all the suggestions.

Lunch at 1pm-3pm. Then we 4 sat down with Dario to hang out, drink wine and chat about things. Mostly in Italian with some translation from the guys. Mostly Dario talking till 530pm. He even gave us each a bottle of fine chianti to take home. What a day.


floozigrl said...

dude, go me! i recognize that guy from TV! go you for getting in on an absolutely incredible sounding meal!!!!! i want pictures of all you stick in your mouth for the rest of this trip please :)

Emanuele (Filippo Berio) said...

Ciao Jonathan! Just read your blog, you are too kind! I hope to see you again, and I hope you will enjoy the rest of your trip in my beloved country! Only a mistake, the name of our footbal team is FIORENTINA!!! Not just Florence! I'm joking! Please, call us if you are back in Florence!