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Eating & Drinking

  • Eating & Drinking

    Colle di Val d’Elsa is a foodie hotspot, helped by its closeness to both the Chianti and San Gimignano. As a result, the area abounds in good restaurants, from homely inns to gourmet restaurants offering wine-pairing options. The Chianti Colli Senesi is the biggest Chianti zone, running from San Gimignano to Colle di Val d'Elsa and Siena, and onto Montalcino and Montepulciano. It’s a fresh young red wine that goes well with cured meats, such as cinta senese, as well as with bruschetta. It also goes with soups, mushroom sauces and game, along with tripe, ribollita, grilled and roast meats, plus most cheeses and cured meats. These include the strong-tasting prosciutto toscano, made from cinta senese, the prized black-and-white pigs. This is an ancient Tuscan breed, linked to Sienese territory, and is the only surviving Tuscan breed. Other prized cured meats include hand-salted capocollo, finocchiona, flavoured with fennel, and soprassata, which has to be eaten fresh. The cheeses are equally varied and can be eaten with unsalted Tuscan bread and accompanied by walnuts, honey and local jams. The Pecorino comes in many forms, from mild to pungent-smelling. Pecorino wrapped in fig-leaves or walnut leaves is fairly pungent while strong-smelling Pecorino di Fossa is even more powerful, as is the Pecorino made with black truffles. The cylindrical-shaped Marzolino cheese, produced between March and August, can be eaten soft and young or spicier if matured on spruce leaves. Pastries, biscuits and cakes are plentiful in the area, from typical cantucci biscuits to spicey panforte, a Sienese-style cake. Alternatives are castagnaccio, made with chestnut flour, and cavallucci biscuits studded with candied fruit.

  • Buekke Gelateria

    This ice cream parlour, considered the best in the Val d’Elsa area, often introduces new flavours but always with the same quality.

    Address: Fratelli Bandiera 81
    Frazione Gracciano
    Colle di Val d'Elsa

    Tel: (+39) 0577 1793415

  • Ristorante Arnolfo

    Set in an airy mansion, this pricey two-Michelin-starred restaurant is made for special occasions. Gorgeously presented Tuscan-inspired dishes are interpreted in creative, gourmet-style fashion. Typical dishes include: quail’s egg in meat broth; saffron risotto with country herbs; cinta senese suckling pig served on a bed of lentils and prune; and cappelletti pasta in a rich Chianti sauce. Expect creative menus (including vegetarian options) from chef Gaetano Trovato in a price range varying from €120-€160 without wine.

    Address: Via XX Settembre 50
    Colle di Val d’Elsa

    Tel: (+39) 0577 920549

  • Ristorante L'Astronave

    This straight-forward, traditional Tuscan restaurant is fuss-free, fairly-priced and reliable. It serves barbecued meat, big T-bone steaks, along with hearty pasta dishes (such as tagliatelle and a meaty ragu sauce) and a good range of vegetable dishes.
    Portionas are generally large while the service is friendly.

    Address: Localita Selvamaggio 80
    Colle di Val d'Elsa

    Tel: (+39) 0577 920116

  • Ristorante Il Cardinale

    This rustic-elegant stone-faced restaurant is set in the former cellars of the Relais de la Rovere villa. Expect sophisticated regional Tuscan cooking presented in a creative way. The prices reflect the upmarket setting and modish presentation, even if the restaurant is run independently of the villa-hotel.

    Address: Relais de la Rovere
    via Piemonte 10
    Localita la Badia
    Colle di Val d'Elsa

    Tel: (+39) 0577 924696

  • Molino al Moro

    This romantic, old-world restaurant occupies an old mill just north of town. As well as Tuscan classics, such as cured meats, the inn delivers more sophisticated, lighter, seasonal dishes, all mid-priced.  Favourites include the truffle dishes and the home-made ice creams. Equally delicious are the following dishes: Parmesan flan with truffle cream sauce; risotto made with a pungent Pecorino di Fossa cheese and Chianti wine; and the tagliatelle pasta with artichokes and a saffron sauce. The presentation is as elegant and enticing as the vaulted stone setting, with views through glass of the running river below the mill.

    Address: Via della Ruota 2
    Colle di Val d'Elsa

    Tel: (+39) 0577920862

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