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Archive for the ‘Local restaurants’ Category

Wonderful food done in an old fashioned way that is fast disappearing under the glut of tourist restaurants. Massimo who owns the Hosteria, is passionate about real Tuscan food, greets his guests and watches over the tables himself every night, does the cooking along with his wife in a wood fired oven and grows the ingredients for the dishes at his fattoria/ farm.  We had tripe cooked in saffron, which completely changed our rather English expectations of how tripe should taste, it was  superb and the saffron came from one of the only two saffron fields in Tuscany. We also had piglet roasted in fennel, which was sublime. Kids are welcome – they were happy to  do just a plate of pici al ragu for our son, who liked it so much he had another. The panna cotta was done in a quince sauce, which was sweet, so if you are not sure about a sweet sauce with panna cotta, have the marscapone desert instead which was delicious. In summer the tables are set outside in the pretty square under the stars. This is a place to linger over Slow Food, don’t miss it. 

Booking is essential if you want to be sure of a place, call 0575 845362. Its closed Monday and Tuesday and two weeks in June for holidays. The Hosteria is in Marciano which is about 15 mins from Il Pino, but not easy to find first time, to get there from Il Pino, head for Foiano, go through Foiano towards Lucignano, and follow the signs through Pozzo, bending sharp left to Marciano. As you enter Marciano, you will see modern houses on the left – look out for a high old wall and tower on the right and turn right immediately in front of that. Follow the road around the wall as it curves left for 200 metres until you see a carpark below the wall with a pizza place opposite. Park there and walk slightly uphill, you will see the  main town gate on your left, go inside and the Hosteria is in the little piazza in front of you.

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Guazzino is a small, fairly irrelvant little place on the road from Bettolle to Sinalunga.  However it does contain a gem of a restaurant, which has rapidly become a favourite for us.  Il Fornacino (http://www.ilfornacino.it/) is situated in the middle of the village, impossible to miss.  Welcoming and warm service from Luigi (has spent time in Newcastle so happy to try his English out!), spectacular cooking from his wife Daniella and relatively inexpensive to boot.

Try anything, I’ve not had a bad course yet.  Last time I did Penne Arriabbata, Tagliata Rucola and Tiramisu… they were all fantastic.  Ordering house wine results in a lovely Chianti or a nice Chardonnay from a local winery (http://www.ilsosso.it/) being brought to the table and just left until you don’t want anymore from the bottle(s)!  Oh and then Luigi brings complimentary Vin Santo to have with or without your chosen dessert. (You can see why I like this place!!)

This place is 10/15 mins from Il Pino… there is nothing to dislike about it.  I love it!

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Top tip from Aurore:

Best Pizza place in the area :
La Zinfarosa at Foiano della chiana
Piazzetta S. Domenico 4
Tel : 0575640146
Close on wednesday
The owner is very friendly and this is the best pizza we experienced here. They have also some typical tuscan appetizers or pasta if you don’t want to eat pizza. Large terrace and parking as well

….if you are still hungry…

you can finish your meal by eating a very nice Gelato in Fior di Latte Gelateria
corso V.Emanuele, 105
walking distance from Zinfarosa

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Just inside the old city walls of the beautiful little medieval hill town of Lucignano is the restaurant Il Goccino. It is another favourite of the Il Pino community, with consisently good gourmet food, wine and service. The chocolate fondue is heaven and the Chianina beef tagliata is one of those dishes you have to order every time you go there rather than miss out. We have also bought wines from their enoteca and have found their recommendations to be excellent.

At the back of the restaurant there is a terrace with lovely views out over the Val di Chiana, and at the front another tiny terrace fronting the village road with a few tables and chairs, a pleasant shady quiet spot for a long afternoon lunch. 

It is best to book ahead to make sure you get a place, especially in the peak season.  To book call: 0039 0575 836707 . Their website with wine list is www.ilgoccino.it

To get to Lucignano, drive to Foiano della Chiana, go through Foiano heading north following the local road signs to Lucignano, it should take about 20mins from Il Pino.

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This is probably the most local restaurant to Il Pino. It’s an agriturismo, so it has guests staying on a working farm estate with a pool, and they make their own wine, honey and oil which you can buy, as well as a restaurant open to non guests.

It is a well kept local secret, not in the guidebooks and very popular with locals for special ocasions and celebrations and often fully booked in the peak months so make sure you book ahead.  The food is very good but if you go you must have the grandi antipasti, a huge selection of beautifully made delicacies which just keeps arriving on the table and you won’t have much room for anything else afterwards. They are great with kids, and there is a huge garden for the kids to play in while the adults relax over a leisurely meal. Many Il Pino owners have been to Agrisalotto and it is a firm favourite with the Il Pino community.

To get there, turn left out of the drive, at the t junction at the bottom of the hill turn right, left at the next junction, go over the canal and follow the road until you see the sign 5 minutes later. To book call 00390575 617 417. They have a lovely website with useful links and itineraries: www.agrisalotto.it

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We may be starting a heated debate here but we think the best cappuccino ever is at Vannelli’s in Camucia. It is an elegant cafe run by a husband and wife team, he bakes the gorgeous pastries (we have eaten THREE each at one sitting) at 4am each day and she runs front of house with impeccable service and a warm welcome. 

Best cappuccino in town

To find Vannelli’s go to the main roundabout in the centre of Camucia (where the farmacia is) and head down hill towards the station with the newstand on your left, you’ll see their al fresco chairs and canopy on the left after about 20 metres.

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