Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Most Famous Butcher in the World

Our Euro scout continued onward to the warmer climes of Tuscany and the town of Panzano in Chiati where we met up with Dario Cecchini and his wife Kim at Antica Macelleria Cecchini. Dario's work was chronicled in Bill Buford's excellent book ''Heat'', and a memorable episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. After a tour and a chat with Dario's wife Kim, who is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Dario appeared, greeting us with warmth, enthusiasm and a larger than larger than life charisma. We heard a detailed off the cuff diatribe on all that was wrong in the world of food as he busily chopped, wrapped, mixed and sliced, skills that evinced all in food and restaurants that is true and right. Right in his world and soon in ours as it was time for lunch. Dario operates three restaurants very close to his butcher shop: Solo Ciccia, MacDario and Officina Del Bistecca. MacDario (described here) is the lunch spot, a Tuscan riff on McDonalds and fast food. We sat down for a delicious not so typical burger washed down with a ''military'' Grappa, not bad. Young culinary interns Chris and Nicholas, hailing from Canada and France, came out of the kitchen joining us for lunch and soon we were animatedly comparing notes on culinary travels. After our afternoon lunch Kim sent us off to the nearby vineyard and winery of Fontodi where Silvano showed us around. Acclaimed Fontodi is a certified organic operation located in the ''Conca Di'Oro'' a natural amphitheater descending from just below Panzano in Chianti. Besides the vineyard and winery operation we also visited a part of the property where Fontodi raises a small herd of the famed and very large Chianina beef. After our eventful day we ascended to the town of Lamole and Casa al Prato a Tuscan mountainside hideaway owned by Dario's sister Marina Cecchini. Besides Marina's beautiful accommodations she also operates a small gift shop called bonheur located a few doors down from Mario's shop.

Antica Macelleria Cecchini

Kim and Dave at the butcher shop Antica Macelleria Cecchini


Dario expostulates while offering porcetta samples

Lunch Time at Mac Dario

Mac Dario burger with Pinzimonio on the side

Chianina at Fontodi Vineyard

the road to Lamole

Jim and Dario

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