The scenery in Tuscany is outstanding. The drive from Siena, back towards the Florentine Chianti area (yes, that Italian wine...), was absolutely outstanding, even as the skies threatened to open up and the temperature dropped quite dramatically.
I really try not to use cliches, but what's not to love about the rolling green hills, dotted with little houses and vineyards? There is nothing about this landscape not to like. Unless you've got a soft spot for concrete...
This was one of those nights where my mum again, wanted to take us kids to a place she and dad had eaten at, two years ago, when they were last here...but of course, she had no idea the name of the place. Great.
The only thing we had to go off from was that it was near the Carpineto winery or wine tasting place. Which again, we only had roughly the town or suburb even, that it was in.
However, we would not be deterred, so I popped in 'Dudda' into our GPS and to some random road in the middle of a hill we drove to.
We were brightened when we passed by Carpineto, which was closed, since it was 6pm or something already and continued down the road.
20 minutes later, we were still driving around, mum avidly remembering there was a carpark opposite the restaurant on the right hand side of the road but as we drove and drove, we still didn't see it.
Oh. We so nearly turned back, when we passed by a patch of land with a scarce reminder of a building on it. It's so odd the things that bring back memories. Dad suddenly got excited at the sight of this and adamantly insisted that he remembered driving by here....two years ago....and so we continued on.
Our patience and my parents persistence was rewarded, as the glowing sign of Locando Borgo Antico glowed ahead of us shortly after, with indeed, the carpark across the road on the right.
The last time my parents had visited, it had been for lunch. I can only imagine how lovely it would have been to sit outside on a sunny day, with a glass of wine in hand and that view!
This thought would have to stay an image in my mind, as the winds started to pick up and get nippy, so we scuttled on inside to be seated.
The interior inside was so cute, so rustic, hearty and homey, from the sandy walls to the chequered tablecloth and dark wooden furniture. I loved how they put the wine glasses on the table, something a little different and quite elegant!
These guys are obviously used to tourists, as the menu was fortunately both in Italian and English....albeit a little broken, which always provide a good chuckle anyway. At Locando Borgo Antico, you can expect only authentic country flavours, hand made pasta and desserts, garnished with only extra virgin olive oil. And apparently long life dairy produce and mass produced foods are strictly forbidden. Ah Italy, I love you.
I unfortunately don't have very vivid memories of this place, other than a few of the dishes, but will recollect what I can!
I believe this was mum's dish, I think it was a local bean soup, maybe with some barley in it? Mum recalls that it was homey and hearty...which I think it definitely looks.
To share we got a serve of mushroom and liver pate, lovely bread (although not as lovely as Switzerland or France unfortunately...), and the pate itself was quite rich and luscious.
Daddy ordered a porcini pappardelle...oh I just love the look of pappardella pasta, especially when it's fresh and lovely like this. The thick ribbons are just so much more appealing to me over other pastas. And then they're al dente and so perfect and life is so good.
I've mentioned it before, but I absolutely love the portions for pasta and risottos when you're actually in Italy. A fistful and a half of pasta maybe, enough to be comfortable and filling, but not leave you completely stuffed. And of course, just served simply and elegantly, in this case, porcini, olive oil and a scatter of herbs. What else do you need? When on earth did we manage to bastardize something so simply beautiful and straightforward?
Sorry can't remember this dish...so here's a cute picture of my parents. :)
Mum's dish of white beans and pork was nice, but nothing particularly remarkable.
My dish, was the absolute star of the night. Although the whole dinner was actually quite lovely and I feel terrible not being able to remember more of it, this dish just eclipsed everything else and it's all my family talks about when we recall this night (which is disturbingly more than we should be...).
This was a simple dish of guinea fowl. It doesn't look remarkable, but we all have memories of how it absolutely smelled amazing as it was being brought to our table. Heads may have turned as it entered the room, it was just so intensely aromatic that it just filled the entire room. A little smokey, a little char, but not too much to be overwhelming, more along the lines of that comforting roasted smell I suppose...
And of course to eat, the meat was just beautiful, so juicy, so tasty! The skin was simply dressed, but just oozing with flavour and parted the aromaticness to the palate. Oh happy sighs....
To finish up, we had a little dessert platter. A delightful and chocolatey (obviously) chocolate cake, beautiful home made tiramisu and...something else. A pannacotta maybe? The biggest disappointment really was that the portions were only enough for a bite each, but that's what we get for sharing dessert I guess....
Dimezzano - Lucolena 50022 Greve in Chianti (Firenze) Italy