BY Lisa Lindblad
May 2, 2011
Willing Foot, the “exclusive, entirely innovative way to experience any destination” (Maria Schollenbarger) offers a one-day itinerary into the timeless landscapes around Florence to sample some of the tasty produce of three purveyors who also happen to be good Willing Foot friends. In the company of Oliva, born and bred in Florence, you will leave the city center for a literal taste of the culinary heritage of this fruitful Italian region.
Begin with a private tour and tasting at a working monastery where the liquor-producing frati maintain distilleries much as they have for seven centuries. Then, drive to lovely San Casciano Val di Pesa where the Gelpke family will welcome you to their 140-hectare fattoria for a private tasting of their premium wines, sheeps-milk cheeses and olive oils.
Another 20 minutes will bring you to Panzano where Dario Cecchini, one of the world’s most famous butchers and a local celebrity – runs an empire of meat: in his Macelleria, pick up his porchetta and beef cuts to cook at home; lunch at his outdoor restaurant Mac Dario where Dante will seat you at a long trestle table and serve up Dario’s version of the hamburger accompanied by baskets of crudites and crusty bread, and an additional plate of veal “tuna”, beef sushi, his version of the humble meatloaf, all accompanied by a carafe of local wine, and costing 10 Euros. Across the street is Solochiccia, his family-style restaurant with one evening seating and a Dario set menu.
Willing Foot’s Culinary excursion ends with a tour of Greve-in-Chianti’s unique Piazza Matteotti, ringed by immaculate medieval and early-Renaissance palazzi, and another culinary star, Antica Macelleria Folorni, before a slow return to Florence along the famous Chiantigiana route.