Sunday, June 13, 2010

An American vegetarian fights the good fight against alcoholism in Tuscany and Chianti but loses... gracefully.

Chanti part one, food:

(Funny sign outside of Antica Macelleria Cecchini )
I was warned on the road to Lucca from the airport that I would be visiting a famous butcher of the Chianti region the following morning. Being the self-loathing vegetarian that I am, I kept quiet for the moment while nervously trying to muster up the words, non mangio carne.

(Sabine, Henning, Marianne, Elke, and Heinrich entering Antica Macelleria Cecchini )
OMG! Saying I don't eat meat in Williamsburg with the plethora of BBQ places that surround and taunt me with their hot hipster chefs and their fantastic whiskys is bad enough, but having to remind Sabine, a gloriously kind host and a bonified foodie, that I don't eata the meata is no fun at all.

(Butcher Dario Cecchini, has been a butcher for 35 years and is the owner of Antica Macelleria)
Her response: It's not meat! It's the “sushi“ of the Chianti region. But how will I tell her that I don't eat fish either???
After driving past the vineyard of my favorite red wine, Castello di Gabbiano's and taking in the beauty, we parked at the base of Panzano, a charming little village in Chianti. Inside Antica Macelleria Cecchini, where butcher DARIO CECCHINI (pictured above) does his infamous butchering, we were promptly greeted by Kate! Kate's a feisty Southern California native who has been in Italy for over 20 years now, so it was great to see her.

She came with a carafe in hand and served us a local house red. She then passed us home made bread drizzled with locally grown and pressed olive oil that had been sprinkled with their special salts and herb mix (which I promptly purchased for myself). Yum!
We toured the shop littered with cooking books, butcher related paraphernalia, meat inspired art... oh, and carne.

Right pass the designer meat locker was a secret staircase which lead up to the restaurant where a pudgy and boisterous waiter stood excitedly waiting to feed us his beef. NON MANGA CARNE ? “Ok, ok, ok for you my love, anything ” he shouts. He brought me a full plate of veggies, potatoes, Insalata Mista, and some phenomenal cheeses with homemade ketchup and other mysterious, scrumptious sauces.

We ate a feast, even poor me, the veggie. With a tragically beautiful view of Chianti just beyond the deck we toasted to Chianti with some Chiante.

I took a short walk around the town and after seeing many watercolors and oil paintings of Chianti we were onto San Gimignano where the scavenger hunt for contemporary art in Italy began.

1 comment:

mandy k said...

Thank you for sharing, if you brought me I would have eaten your meat for you!