What To Expect When Going For An Authentic Italian Countryside Dinner: Food, Wine and Joy!
After gorging on yummy gelatos at Frencesca’s gelateria, our gourmet bandwagon headed towards Chianti countryside to meet Luca, one of the old mates of Barbara and Bryan. Luca has been in the wine business for more than 30 years now.
A 40 minutes drive from Impruneta to Lucarelli which is a council in Radda in Chianti landed us at the abode of lush green vineyards, crystal clear skies, and soothing environment. We decided on a very popular local restaurant named Osteria Le Panzanelle for the do.
‘Osteria’ means a typical kind of Italian restaurant, serving wine and basic dishes. The menu at such restaurants tends to be short comprising of local specialties like pasta, grilled meat or fish etc. The food is usually served on shared tables and is very economical. Some osterie serve as co-working spaces while some act as meet-up junction for people.
Osteria Le Panzanelle is run by two young women, Nada and Silvia who are assisted by their respective companions Paolo and Luigi. The restaurant though imbibed with modern elements, serve some authentic Italian dishes like stewed wild boar, stuffed roasted rabbit, etc.
My meeting with Luca helped me gain knowledgeable insights about local drinks from his region. Luca is involved in his family business of winemaking, known as San Giusto a Rentennano. A brand name in wine making since AD 970. San Giusto has critics like Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, and many others, who are always all praises about the high-quality drinks produced by this winery. Luca shared his childhood memories of the farm and how the business grew, the wine making process and many other anecdotes with us.
We sampled some dishes (below) along with wine at Osteria Le Panzanelle
No Italian dinner is complete without wine. We had a couple of specialties of this region, one of them was Chianti Classico. It is a fuller and richer wine made using a variety of red grapes. Wines have high acidity content and thus act as the best drink alongside food, especially Italian cuisine that uses a lot of red sauce and lamb.
A bottle of Chianti wasn’t enough for us guzzler who had an ocean of things to talk about, and so we laid our hands on another specialty of this region, Grappa.
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems left over from winemaking after pressing the grapes. It was originally made to prevent waste by using these leftovers. In Italy, Grappa is served as after-dinner-drink because of its digestive properties. It contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof). We relished a bottle of this Italian brandy after dinner. No Italian dinner is ever complete without this digestive and healthy drink.
We soon chugged down our wines while talking about Italy, food, wine and everything under the sun.
Alas! we had to move out of this little table of Osteria Le Panzanelle, for I have places to go and stories to tell. I’ll be back with some more stories from the land of Turks.