Foodie In Training

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Favorite Meal In Tuscany

We spent 10 days in Northern Italy and Tuscany for our honeymoon.  It was AMAZING.  We had a great time and ate so many wonderful meals.  My favorite meal of our trip was in a small hill town in the Chianti region of Tuscany.  We stopped in Montefioralle on our first day in Tuscany, arriving on a wind-y Tuscan road to the top of a hill where we parked near a vineyard and walked in to the town.  It is a small, sleepy town (we didn't really see any locals when we were walking around) with narrow stone streets with colorful doors and shutters.  So cute!  We walked around the town and noticed an open doorway with a menu displayed.  The menu looked simple and rustic so we decided to try it out.  It didn't open for another year so we walked around a bit more, took lots of photos of the amazing views and then walked back to eat.  
The restaurant was a typical enoteca in Italy.  We saw nonna (grandma) in the kitchen cooking while the rest of the family waited and served the customers.  The minute I walked down the hallway to the restaurant, I had such a warm and homey feeling from this place.  I knew it was going to be a good experience.  And our view was amazing! The open air restaurant overlooked a vineyard and the Tuscan hills were in the backdrop.  

OK- now to the food... we started with a bottle of Chianti Classico (we were in the Chianti region) and it was a great start and one of my favorite wines (and believe me, we drank ALOT of wine).  For antipasti we shared the special of the day, fresh figs from their garden and prosciutto.  The figs were juicy and sweet and worked so well with the saltiness of the prosciutto.  
For the first course I had a panzanella salad and Ryan had picci pasta with a traditional tomato sauce.  Panzanella has many different variations, but the common factor is day old bread.  My salad has bread, tomatoes, cucumber, sliced red onion and fresh basil.  They gave me olive oil and red wine vinegar to dress my salad how I wanted.  The panzanella was so fresh and light. The tomatoes were so ripe and gorgeous and the bite of the red wine vinegar brightened up the whole dish.  Ryan's picci pasta was so rustic and simple.  Picci pasta is similar to regular spaghetti, it is just a little "fatter" and I believe it is made with semolina instead of eggs, so it is a little heavier than regular spaghetti.  We had picci pasta several times in Italy and it was always cooked to perfection.   The tomato sauce that topped the picci pasta was simple and tasted amazing.  
We both chose very hearty dishes for our main course.  I chose Italian sausage with a side of Tuscan white beans and spinach and Ryan chose short ribs and a side of the beans and spinach.  My Italian sausage was amazing.   It is hard to describe but it was juicy and a little spicy.  The presentation was so rustic and authentically Italian.  The Tuscan white beans and spinach were also a lesson in simplicity.  Both perfectly cooked, they were seasoned with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and a little lemon.  
The meal was absolutely perfect, the view, the tastes, the wine, the family serving us.  Montefioralle was my favorite Tuscan town and I think this restaurant is a main reason why it holds a special place in my heart. 


mary said...

this is unbelievable, you two! what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, it looks amazing!

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