Bellissimo Chiante!

 

A Chianti landscape

 

Ah, beautiful Chianti!

I had never been to the Chianti region so Umberto and Francesca decided to spend a Saturday showing me around a bit. There’s nothing better than spending a day with good friends, seeing the country, and eating good food.

We first visited Greve (pronounced gray-vay) in Chianti, which has a fabulous Saturday market intended for the local residents rather than tourists. I enjoy these more because I get to see how the markets really work, the prices are better, and they are simply more entertaining.

 

Greve market

These markets usually include everything from local produce and meat to clothing to personal care items. This particular market included cooking tools, ceramics, baskets, kitchen and bathroom linens, flowers, a few pastries, meat, fruit, vegetables, and bread. If you need it you can probably find it here.

 

 

Greve market

 

These markets can be entertaining because Italians take their local markets very seriously. There is a lot of bargaining, some arguing over pricing or among each other about who saw what first, and much visiting with vendors and friends. The atmosphere is usually jovial and energetic, and this market was no exception. They are normally very busy, and Italians line up for nothing. So if you ever intend to visit one these markets, be assertive and sharpen your elbows!

What did I buy? I found kitchen towels and table linens at incredibly good prices. There is also a very good dried cherry that seems to be offered only at these markets. I buy a couple hundred grams whenever I find them.

 

Greve market, Mmm... ciligie secco! (dried cherries)

 

The other city we visited is a pretty little hill town by the name of Panzano in Chianti. We stopped here because I had seen the church tower over the trees and wondered about it.

 

Panzano

 

Panzano has that old world charm we see in photos of Italy. It is not a town that sees many tourists which means it is not cluttered with tacky souvenir stands. You see Panzano as it is, and it is beautiful!

 

Panzano

 

We ended the visit with lunch at a place called Antica Macelleria Cecchini, owned by butcher and chef Dario Cecchini. He seems to be rather well known in the area. No wonder, the food was great, the price was terrific, and the entire experience was, well, fun.

 

The restaurant mascot

 

There were two menu options. That day the menu offered the following: For 10 euro you received a half pound burger Tuscan style, roasted potatoes, vegetables, bread, and water. Dario calls it playing “with the concept of high quality fast food”. For 20 euro you were given some of Dario’s “butcher shop specialties”. That day this included raw vegetables and olive oil, Chianti sushi (beef, not fish), Chianti tuna (pork actually), roasted pork, meatloaf “Dario style”, bread, and water. Of course you want to sample the fabulous vino, so that is a little extra.

We ordered the second option, and that was enough for the three of us. With the Chianti  wine this was probably the best lunch I’ve had!

If you visit the Chianti area I highly recommend a visit to Panzano, and to Antica Macelleria Cecchini. You will not soon forget the experience!

 

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About Dana

I wear several hats: writer, photographer, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, traveler. Mostly I am a student of life, a work in progress, constantly moving towards a life full of meaning, joy and compassion. Join me on this journey and we will learn together.
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10 Responses to Bellissimo Chiante!

  1. Rekha Baala says:

    Nice. Have always wanted to visit Italy. Maybe sometime soon. And thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

  2. Libby says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog and drawing me here. Very interesting. I must confess I know very little about Italy, have never been there!

    • Dana says:

      You are welcome. I enjoy your blog immensely. I’m glad you are enjoying this one. I will be adding more soon, so keep in touch!

  3. Joe says:

    Dana,

    I’ve read something about Dario. He’s apparently quite famous and had a visit from Anthony Bourdain. You can see it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKeBpGlJ5dw

    What a treat to go there. Welcome back.

    Joe

    • Dana says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks. I’ve been home less than 24 hours and already miss Italy. Spain too for that matter. The friends in both introduced me to many more wonderful people and I’ve certainly learned more than I might have staying at hotels and wandering around, and my Italian has certainly improved!

      Looking at the website I thought Dario might be a bit famous. And it was definitely an experience. His place is a definite “must go” if anyone is in the area. Just remember he doesn’t take reservations so there might be a bit of a wait-especially as other travelers learn about him.

      Dana

  4. damaris says:

    Sounds as if you are having a great time!

    • Dana says:

      Hi Damaris,

      Yes I am! But tomorrow I had back to “real life” in the States, and I dread the readjustment. ((SIGH))

      Dana

  5. Wanda Young says:

    that sounds like a perfect day…wish I had been there with you.

    • Dana says:

      Hi Wanda,

      Yes, it was one of the best on this trip. The weather was perfect for this kind of outing. We finished the day with dinner with several of Umberto’s and Francesca’s friends, where I drank too much and didn’t feel incredibly well the next day. But I blame the Grappa for that. Couldn’t have been the Vino. 🙂

      Dana

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