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Eating & Drinking

  • The Chianti is one of the most appealing parts of foodie Tuscany. The Chianti wine route is a chance to enjoy Chianti Classico wines and T-bone steaks in cosy inns. Wine-growing dates back Etruscan times, as evidenced by the goblet found in an Etruscan tomb at Castellina in Chianti, and surviving Etruscan frescoes that depict Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.  Medieval monasteries established viticulture here – and some of these original wine estates survive, such as the Badia a Coltibuono and Antinori’s Badia a Passignano, with its fine-dining restaurant, L’Osteria di Passignano.

    Naturally, this is the homeland of Chianti Classico, even if Super Tuscans are also produced in the region. In 1716 a decree issued by the Grand Duke of Tuscany defined the boundaries of the Chianti area and established the laws governing the production and sale of wine. Today this region is the world’s oldest wine-producing league. The Chianti Classico area includes the areas of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Castellina, Greve, Gaiole, San Casciano and Tavernelle Val di Pesa.

    Cuisine from the Chianti is a hearty variant on classic Tuscan cooking, with borrowings from nearby Florence and Siena as well as local variants. Look out for ribollita, a thick bean soup, or other simple dishes that reflect Tuscany’s cucina povera (peasant cuisine). At the other end of the scale, fine dining is also available, especially in many of the grander castle and abbey estates. Here, dishes tend to be more sophisticated and often involve wine-pairing and tasting menus.

    This is just a taster to the Chianti. See our restaurant recommendations below and also see specific guides to top Chianti towns and villages, all accessed through our Destinations listings, For starters, check out our guides to GaioleGreve, Panzano, CastellinaRadda and Castelnuovo Beradenga. Our additional Chianti guides cover Castagnoli, Volpaia, San Gusme, San Donato in Poggio and Vagliagli.

  • La Bottega

    Set in an enchanting medieval hamlet just north of Radda, this charming family-run inn serves unfussy but still special Tuscan dishes. These are complemented by some of the best Chianti Classico wines, along with salads and vegetables from the kitchen garden. Mid-priced dishes include hand-rolled pasta, such as pici with duck or wild boar sauce, or ribollita soup followed by wild boar or Florentine T-bone steak. To be sure of grabbing a table on the shady terrace, book ahead and then enjoy view from the hilltop hamlet over the rolling plain below.



    Address: Piazza della Torre 1
    Volpaia
    53017
    Radda in Chianti
    Tel: (+39) 0577 738001
    Web: www.labottegadivolpaia.it

  • L’Osteria di Passignano

    Combine a visit to the Badia di Passignano abbey with a prestigious but pricey wine-tasting and cellar tour linked to the Antinori wine dynasty. Surrounded by serried vineyards, this fancy Michelin-starred restaurant occupies part of the vaulted medieval abbey. After a tour of the `historical cellars,’ consider lunch in this fine-dining restaurant (booking required). The creative modern Italian cuisine still incorporates fine Tuscan ingredients. Typical dishes include artichoke-stuffed pasta in a Parmesan sauce, pork with black truffle puree, or lamb served with an asparagus-filled pastry.  The wines make the perfect accompaniment, perhaps including Antinori’s Riserva, which is oaky and spicy with notes of cinnamon and candied fruit. If won over, on another occasion, dine in a different Antinori establishment, such as their simpler La Trattoria della Fonte nearby, which also runs cookery classes. After preparing a Tuscan meal, students proceed to devour it in L’Osteria di Passignano.


    Address: Badia di Passignano
    Localita Badia a Passignano
    50028
    Tavernelle Val di Pesa


    Tel: (+39) 055 8071278
    Web: www.osteriadipassignano.com & www.antinori.it

  • L'Osteria Le Panzanelle

    Set on the road between Panzano and Radda, this is a bastion of Tuscan home-cooking. With its white-washed walls, it’s an unpretentious but utterly reliable country trattoria. Come for the mid-priced home cooking, friendly service, short but seasonal menu and the extensive Tuscan wine list. Tuck into the Florentine tripe, roast rabbit, the pumpkin ravioli or any pasta in wild boar sauce. End with the panna cotta or the homemade, crunchy cantuccini biscuits, ideally dipped in Vin Santo.


    Address: Localita Lucarelli 29
    53017
    Radda in Chianti


    Tel: (+39)0577 733511
    Web: www.lepanzanelle.it

  • L’Officina della Bistecca

    The clue is in the name: this celebrated Panzano place is a meat-lover’s dream and the temple of Florentine T-bone steak. Although not for the faint-hearted, this Tuscan steakhouse is a memorable experience and is a place beloved by top Italian chefs. Here, the butcher Dario Cecchini is the local legend. Diners sit at a long, communal table and tuck into a meat feast, prepared on an open grill. This includes a succulent 7cm-thick steak. The vast fixed menu (itemised online) costs 50€ (vegetarian version too), including wine, coffee and grappa, and with two sittings at dinner, one at lunch. It’s best to book.


    Address: Via XX Luglio 11
    50022
    Panzano in Chianti


    Tel: (+39) 055 852020
    Web: www.dariocecchini.com

  • Il Ristoro

    Set south of Gaiole, on the lovely, rambling Castello di Ama wine estate deep in the Chianti hills, this inn is all about showcasing the wine in an 18th-century villa. The short but seasonal menu is perfectly matched to the estate wines. Authentic, good-value dishes include pasta with wild boar sauce, chicken with black olives in wine sauce or a summery carrot and courgette soufflé with pecorino sauce, and a hazelnut tart to finish. Pre-book a balcony table for sweeping views. To focus on the wine alone, choose the estate’s L’Enoteca.


    Address: Castello di Ama
    Localita Ama
    53013
    Gaiole in Chianti


    Tel: (+39)0577 746191
    Web: www.castellodiama.com

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