God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Restaurants to Share

I don't know--Italy or Other Good Stuff--guess it's both.

We have indulged ourselves at way, way too many restaurants during our year here with most ranging somewhere between good and memorable. These four are the latest on our "go back to" list and so I thought I would share them with anyone who might be coming this way soon.

Antica Borgo: You probably won't stumble upon this restaurant unless you are like us, having the time and inclination to explore off the beaten track or someone has recommended it to you. It is located in an old, traditional small farm borgo with buildings that have been used for centuries. Today the old buildings hide apartments, a locanda and a great traditional Tuscan restaurant serving food with a flair. The hosts are congenial; the wine list impressive; the food delicious and the setting quite lovely. For nice weather dining there is veranda seating but choosing between inside and outside can be difficult as there is much charm inside.

The restaurant is located just beyond Lucolena, a small village off the road leading between Figline Valdarno and Greve in Chianti. Their website gives clear directions.

Dulcisinfundo: (no website, yet.) 21, Vicolo Deglis Innocenti San Gimignano 0039 0577 941919
We thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant. The owner Roberto del Zoppo, from Milano, is delightful, proud of his establishment and offers deliciously good food. It is located to the right along the wall as you head into the center of the village, allowing it to offer a beautiful view of the countryside beyond. However, we chose to eat in the nicely decorated, inviting inside. There is an attractive enoteca downstairs, below street level.

Osteria del Castello: (no website yet) Located at the entrance to Castello di Brolio; Loc. Madonna A Brolio; osteria@ricasoli.it;
GPS Coordinates Lat 43°24'55"N Long 11° 27'33" E:

39-0577 747277

We ate here several years ago and enjoyed it immensely; however, the previous owner has left and the osteria is now owned by the Brolio Winery. It is in the process of reestablishing itself and promises to be as good as it was in the past under the Irish chef Seamus. The menu is creative with many preparations that differ from typical Tuscan foods. There is a good wine list. The osteria is located in the midst of a calm and serene forest, providing a pleasant respite from a day of exploration and discovery. It is a time to relax and savor the day's activites.

Ristorante Il Vescovino: (no website) Via Ciampolo da Panzano, 9; 055 8560152; ilvescovino@mail.com. Signs to the restaurant are easy to follow. This is another restaurant that has existed for many years: however, a couple of years ago it was sold and the new owners are providing some creative cuisine along with traditional dishes--all utilizing typical Tuscan ingredients. I recently had a light lasagna with a duck ragu sauce which was outstanding. The owners are a young Italian (husband) Scottish (wife) couple. The ristorante has a wide veranda with incredible views over the countryside--beautiful on warm weather days. The inside rooms and tables are classy.

From time to time, I'll offer more dining tips based upon our year here. Always they will be places we feel are worth return trips because they provide something beyond the ordinarily good food to be found in most restaurants here in Tuscany.

Since posting this entry I have added a page to my website with information about many restaurants around Greve--some of the ones we sampled during our year. Restaurants Enjoy!

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