About ten municipalities between Florence and Siena, adored above all by foreigners. Vineyards and cellars where one of the great Italian reds is produced. But also places in the name of a great local cuisine, of superb products. Here is our selection
Bread and wine: it may make you smile, but it is the gastronomic essence of Chianti Valley, the heart of Tuscany (although many in the region will disagree), what the Anglo-Saxons define Chiantishire, conquered for decades thanks to that mix of nature, good food and great wines. Bread and wine, because on the second front the Chianti DOCG – of many large wineries – serenely covers the need, while on the first one understands its importance in a way higher than expected. The “stale” bread is the basis of some typical dishes such as pappa al pomodoro (which includes peeled tomatoes, garlic, basil and oil), ribollita (which combines savoy cabbage, black cabbage, beans and other seasonal vegetables with bread, the name means “boiled twice”) and panzanella (crumbled, it is combined with red onion, tomato, cucumber and basil, then seasoned with oil, vinegar and salt).
Cold cuts and cheeses
But the traditional bread in Chianti – prepared in large loaves and strictly unsalted – it becomes the basis for croutons, starting with the black ones with liver sauce or the best way to savorextra virgin DOP of Chianti Classico: color from deep green to green with golden hues, fruity aroma of medium intensity, decidedly spicy flavor, with a bitter aftertaste of artichoke and thistle. You can go further with the fettunta: a slice of stale bread, toasted and flavored with the aforementioned extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. And, again, the bread gives emotions with the series of local cured meats: one immediately thinks of finocchiona, but just enter the Antica Macelleria Falorni in Greve in Chianti and discover that there are about ten typical salamis (crazy), a thousand sausages and even on the Tuscan PDO ham there are notable nuances. And while we are at the pecorino, symbol of the whole of Tuscany, but which here is also matured with aromatic herbs or even in Chianti, the so-called Pecorino Briaco.
The steak, a cult for carnivores
The Chianti food experience must also include a tasty first course (pici with ragù of various meats and ravioloni) and for carnivores his majesty the steak, as Fiorentina is called in these lands and exalted by the butcher par excellence, Cecchini Dario. Absolutely cooked on the grill, with two beans all’uccelletto. Soon it is time for game, another local specialty, which lends itself more to a Chianti Riserva. The choice of the venue remains: the area does not lack starry, indeed. There are six: the most recent is Poggio Rosso in Borgo San Felice, which is part of the galaxy of Enrico Bartolini. The others are in the same municipality, namely Castelnuovo Berardenga (The Donkey and the Workshop of 30); The Tower in Tavarnelle; the Osteria di Passignano (where the talent Matteo Lorenzini has returned) in Badia di Passignano; Pievano in Gaiole in Chianti. Uncommon places, valid menus with many ideas. However, our selection is based on those places where dinner is finished with a homemade dessert and two nooks that make you happy, convincing once more that the Chiantishire has an eternal charm.
Cantinetta del Nonno – San Casciano Val di Pesa
Penne with homemade meat sauce, roast rabbit, Cinta Senese steak: these are the unmissable dishes of this old-fashioned trattoria, which in the summer offers the possibility of eating outdoors. Desserts of the house, many wines by the glass.
Eating Eating – Greve in Chianti
Salvatore Toscano – nomen omen – is one of the most famous chef-patrons of Chianti. Drive one of the best trattorias in the area, overlooking the large square of the village. Many small producers for its delicious menu. And a steak to applause.
Carlino d’Oro – Gaiole in Chianti (FI)
Hand-rolled pasta and lots of meat in the Fabbri family’s trattoria-inn, surrounded by vineyards. Here the dishes of the day go hand in hand with those present throughout the year in the menu. The ribollita is considered among the best in Tuscany.
La Gramola – Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (FI)
Traditional Osteria del Chianti, led by a highly experienced couple. The menu changes almost every day and largely aims to enhance the raw materials of the area such as garlic and meats. Well stocked cellar.
Le Panzanelle – Radda in Chianti (FI)
Pasta, meats, cheeses; but also excellent vegetables: a cult place for visitors to the Chiantishire, also for the very competitive prices and hospitality. Discover the spaghetti di pesticcia and the Vin Santo ice cream.
Step by step – Castellina in Chianti
In the Fizzano estate, a place that makes use of the three property gardens and follows a line of revisited Tuscan and Italian dishes, without being afraid of contamination with the world. Three tasting menus and a menu of never banal dishes.
From Bule – San Casciano Val di Pesa
Bule is the nickname of the landlord who, together with his wife, manages this country restaurant very well where tradition and territory represent the guiding star. The best on the menu: peposo, ravioli with meat sauce, anchovy chops.
Osteria 1126 – Poggibonsi
“We select local products to create a contemporary cuisine that reflects tradition with lightness”: is the manifesto of the restaurant. And among the first gluttons, lots of well-prepared meat and high-quality desserts, in fact, it is respected.
Bistecca Workshop – Panzano in Chianti
Iconic place for carnivores, with the plus of the presence of the histrionic Dario Cecchini. No paper, the choice is limited to two menus (plus a vegetarian aid, at 30 euros): that of the Butcher at 30 euros and the Solociccia at 50 euros. It feels great.
Vagliagli Tavern – Castelnuovo Berardenga
Between cooking and brazier, absolute seasonality, respect for the raw material with meat to reign. Andrea Nasti’s restaurant does not stop at classicism – however perfect – and finds the key to rewriting the recipes of the territory.