Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuscany Eats: Truffles, Cantucci Vin Santo, Chianti wines and more...

I am in love...Tuscany opened its arms which I embraced and fell under its spell. Though I was only there for a few days, it was what I needed to unwind and recharged myself before work beckoned again.

As with any travels, I find myself savouring and sampling the local cuisine which was wonderfully aromatic and delicious. My best meal turned out to be the last meal on this trip, much to my dismay but let's start from the beginning.

I somehow lost some of my food pictures from this trip (devastated!), but some amazing places still deserved to be mentioned.

On the first night, we had dinner at La Torre in Loro Ciuffenna. Situated within a tower, we climbed the stairs and found ourselves in a charming restaurant.

La Torre

The crepe was refreshingly tasty and light.

Guancia di Manzo alla Toscana con Tartufo (Beef cheek with truffle) €13

Deeply rich and hearty would be how I would describe this. The truffles added an aromatic umami richness to the dish. The overall balance isn't that of a delicate finesse but of rustic density.

Tagliata di Pollo al Vin Santo con Pere saltate (Chicken tagliata with pears and sweet wine) €12

Being intrigued by the pear and sweet wine combination, I was curious and ordered this. The flavours did not seem to combine in a harmonious way as each flavour was quite distinct as you eat this. The texture of the chicken was too dry as well.

Cantucci Vin Santo (Tuscan almond biscuit and 'Vinsanto' dessert wine) €6

The Cantucci Vin Santo is a dessert from the Tuscan region. It is quite different to the regular Italian desserts that one is usually familiar with. It comprises of a glass of 'Vinsanto' dessert wine and almond biscuits on the side.

A good alternative for those who tend to shy away from sweet or creamy desserts. I really enjoyed eating the liquid soaked almond biscuit from dipping it into the wine in contrast to the crunchy and dense texture of the almond biscuit.

Ristorante La Torre, via Dante Alighieri 52024 Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany 

Osteria da Luchino

A visit to explore the town of Arezzo led us to Osteria da Luchino. The sight of a tantalising box of mushrooms at the entrance plus tables filled with locals were good indicators that this place might be what we are looking for – honest local food at reasonable prices.

It definitely was indeed and we have such a satisfying meal here.

Osteria da LuchinoVia di Beccheria, 3, 52100 Arezzo

I remembered my Tortelli Di Patate Noci E Tartufo €8 in particular. Delicious and you'll be hard pressed to find one as good as this for the price. There were quite a number of restaurants lining the town with tourist menus and we were glad that we chanced upon Osteria da Luchino.

Now onto the last meal of the trip which turned out to be our best meal. It was with a feeling of regretful irony that we only discovered it on our last night and it was always right at our doorstep (next to the B&B).

We ate at Conte Max which is owned and operated by three chefs. Each day, the three chefs take turns to work the floor while the other two reside in the kitchen. The kitchen serves up modern interpretations of the local classic dishes that just works!

For our starter, it was local meat 'sushi' degustation €10. I had no idea what sushi was doing in a local Tuscany restaurant when I first read it on the menu and it turned out to be canapé styled starters with a mixture of different combination of ingredients used. Some of it was styled to look like sushi, hence the name! It was an eye opener and only made us excited in anticipation of what we were going to get in our following dishes.

The starters and mains are amazing – stimulating both the stomach and the mind. Desserts however to my dismay, was not their strong point. I highly recommend getting yourself here when you plan a trip to Tuscany.

New Conte MaxPiazza Nannini 3, Loro Ciuffenna 


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