Although this week didn’t consist of any big travels, we had one of the best experiences I could have asked for. With our class we visited Montalcino to visit a particular contemporary art instsallation, but luckily for us, our professor knew a restaurant that could make us a lunch to go along with the trip. Along with a Brunello from the area, we had a lunch you wouldn’t believe!
I won’t go into detail with the wine (to be honest, it definitely wasn’t a top Brunello) but the lunch really set the bar high! To start, we had some of the classics. A tomato bruschetta, as well as three other variations; these were mushroom and garlic, tartufo, and black olive. My personal favourites were the latter two. I had never had truffles before this trip, they were only rumours to me, so I was definitely up for a try. It was without a doubt one of the richest and deepest flavours of mushroom, yet not overpowering. The smooth texture of the tartufo was only a thin spread, but was plenty enough to make a lasting impression. Along with these appetizers we were offered prosciutto and cantaloupe that could not have been any fresher as well as pecorino dipped in honey, a classic combination that I had also yet to try. The bitter taste of the pecorino (made just outside the town) was perfectly complemented with the sweet, thick honey that accompanied it. Lastly we were brought some mozzarella di buffalla and tomatoes that had been picked fresh from the area. I was in a food paradise already!
Next, we didn’t just get one pasta dish, but TWO! The first was a cream and pepper sauce with a thick noodle whose texture went very well with the sauce. I found that density and the thickness of the pici noodles held the sauce well and gave the dish that real pasta taste that could only come from something homemade. With fettucini noodles, the second pasta consisted of a cream sauce and more tartufo! Something I’d definitely like to try myself sometime, the two made a rich sauce but somehow did not seem too heavy on its own. There was definitely a little hint of citrus somewhere that made the dish a lot more summery. It’s amazing how very few and simple ingredients when used properly can make a perfect combination.
For the meat course, three meats were presented; chicken, boar, and porc sausage. All were very good, but the sausage was definitely one to remember. The dense sausages had strong flavours of porc and had the taste of a grill that made the dish that much more perfect for the season.
Lastly, after having had so much to eat, we were sure how we could stomach a dessert. But what came out was perfect on a full stomach; watermelon and fior di latte gelato. The simplest of combinations, again, didn’t weigh on our stomachs as much as we had thought, the light watermelon paired with milk flavoured gelato left a fresh taste in our mouths before having to say goodbye to our lovely host.
To complete the experience, the ambiance was spectacular. Along with great company, we got to overlook some of the best views of Tuscany. The rolling hills covered in greenery, like olive trees, grape vines, and so on, were all neatly arranged and spaced between various homes of equal appeal. The sun shining over us along with a cool breeze left nothing but a perfect image of our afternoon together enjoying some of the best Tuscany had to offer. Although I got some comments of my profound interest in food, I couldn’t help myself! I seriously had one of the best times in Italy so far.
Until Sunday, ciao!