With the fine palates and ample bellies of my father and brother in hand, we set of on an explorative journey to seek the finest food and wine of the Chianti Classico region , nestled between the delightful cities of Florence and Siena.
First stop Fontodi ,in the beautiful Tuscan countryside just South of Panzano ,olive groves ,rolling Hills, Cypress trees ,grape vines.
The perfect setting to explore the lovely terracotta amphora , an experimental medium for ageing wine.
Tasting included a good cross section including Flaccianello 2008.
The appetite was growing, calling for a mandatory trip to Italies most famous and extrovert butcher Dario Cecchini, the most famous in Italy, a charismatic and eloquent champion of Tuscan carnivorous cuisine a meat centric restaurant where quality knows no boundaries. A homage to the cow ,full of character and quirkiness .
Greeted with a glass of local chianti from traditional straw flask or’ Fiasco ‘.Bread drowned in local extra virgin olive oil.lard with herbs on brushetta , wild boar salami and pecorini cheese and that’s just while you wait to be seated.
Ushered after a short wait through the pantry kitchen and sliding doors upstairs to vibrant bustling dining room open BBQ huge hunk of beef fiorentine .
The place eats sleeps and breathes meat .
Amply fed and somewhat dozy we made our way South on the 222 through Castellina in Chianti to the lovely Villa Trasqua .
Giorgia had a fine schedule for us .A walk thorough vines carrying most of the terroir with us after recent rainfall. A tutorial on the guyot and cordon pruning methods and suddenly a downpour and a lift back through the vineyard to the tasting room.Fanatico ,Evolito traluna and Trasgaia deep ruby red, cherries ,spice great personality.
finished with a lovely 2005 vino Santo. Alan then showed us the stunning views from the tower over to Siena.
Next on to Daniela and Maria at Tera Di Seta Kosher winery. A walk through the vines olive groves and then a Shabbat tasting .Very interesting to see the locked room leading to the winery no access only to approved personnel. Smoky, spicy and herbaceous wines and very peppery luscious olive oil.
Dinner at Cacio e Pepe in the local village of Vagliagli was a fitting end to a gastronomic day.
Wonderful soup followed by ricotta and spinach cannelloni, apple strudel and coffee with 3 spoons and the delightful smiling Lucia together with her mum and sister ran this most excellent restaurant.
Saturday we headed to Raddia in chianti. Coffee at Sandys followed by getting lost on the way to Castello d’Albola . A great tour of the property and cellars owned by the Zonin family. What a marvellous selection of wines finished of with the vino santo aged for 8 years in Chestnut barrels.
A trip back to Greve in Chianti to Castello Vicciomagio and met the the rather efficious John Matta on the way through the vines . It felt like the Spanish inquisition !
His wine though were great sat on the hilltop with stunning panoramic views over theTuscan, Chianti countryside Vicchiomaggio chiant classico riserva 2010 .
Expect to get lost in chianti country , our sat nav useless .
South to Siena and the spectaular Duomo and Piazza Del Campo . The last stop was back to the lovely Lucia at Cacio e Pepe for some home cooking in Vagliagli and a mal to surpass the gastronomy of last night.
Three satiated bellies and back to Di Seta winery .
Sunday , A gentle meander north on Rt 222 stopped in Panzano to shop in the street market and meet the gregarious Dario Cecchini ,
Then North to Villa Il Foggia and finished off our wines we had collected on our travels overlooking the vineyards and Florence in the distance.
The final feast served by Maurizio in a great aunthentic restaurant A Casa Mia run by two brothers in Montefiridolfi .This a treasure of a find in a tiny village with only four tables wit a wonderful warm quaint atmosphere and food from the heart. The highlight being spinach and ricotta cannelloni which melted in the mouth.
That’s one of the wonders of Italy . Great food in local Trattorias, home cooking, with a warm atmosphere and wine to match .
Here’s to our forthcoming trip to Puglia …we can barely wait !