Monday, March 25, 2013

Le Panzanelle - a special local restaurant

a must-do at Le Ripe

Traditional yet stylish, friendly and good value: Le Panzanelle is a must!

The day we first saw Le Ripe in September 2003 we also first lunched at Le Panzanelle which had been open for little over a year. It was a significant day for us which could not have been celebrated more appropriately. 

Founded by two women, friends from Panzano, it owes its lilting name to them: 'the girls from Panzano'. We are extremely lucky as the restaurant is right at the bottom of our hill. You can even walk there and back (it takes about 15 to 20 minutes each way, down and uphill), although we advise taking a torch for the return journey in the evening, unless there is a full moon. The most beautiful time of year for this walk is in the first half of June when there are fireflies everywhere in the fields and over the river: truly magical.

fireflies in June

Nada and Silvia are helped by their husbands (it's an excellent arrangement as they do turn and turn about so that there is always someone at home with the children), but there are more cooks in the kitchen and friendly waitresses. One of the best things about the restaurant is its popularity amongst locals as well as tourists. When Le Panzanelle celebrated its 10th anniversary there were crowds of locals and friends at the party.

main dining room Le Panzanelle

The interior is tasteful and pleasant, based on traditional Chianti architectural and decorative styles, but with an original touch; and the same can be said of the cooking. The menus change each season, although there are always some favourites and classic dishes. 

style and quality go hand in hand

For those with good appetites we particularly recommend the pici all'aglione (a kind of large locally-made spaghetti with a cheese and garlic sauce) or the pasta di pesticcia, which has a sausage and mushroom sauce. The homemade pasta (ravioli or lasagne) are also always very good. For antipasto (appetizers) or even an alternative to other courses, the vegetable mousses or moulds (sformatino) are  delicious and just the right amount, but there are those of us who prefer the mixed Tuscan bruschette with four different toppings (my husband swears that the finely-sliced Colonnata lard with orange peel is to die for )...For the meat course you can always choose the classic Fiorentina steak but the wild boar with olives stew is very genuine and local and the chicken with fennel is delicious. There are plenty of vegetarian options. The puddings/sweets/desserts/afters (depending where you come from) are always excellent. They have delicious apple pie, like a tarte tatin, melting chocolate cake and two sorts of panna cotta... And if there is anything at all to criticize, it may be that the portions are over-generous...
 For a better overview of dishes see their website: Osteria Le Panzanelle 

pici all'aglione
cheese platter with different condiments

The wine list is interesting although we always opt for the local wines...When in Chianti, drink as the Chiantigiani do.

And, at the right time of year, there is a pleasant outside area for dining. Le Panzanelle has scored a mention on the Michelin: viaMichelin and in Slow Food's guide, Osterie d'Italia. 
Closed Mondays and better to book 
in the busy season:  

Località Lucarelli, 29 53017
Radda in Chianti, Siena - Italia
Tel./Fax. +39 0577 733511

1 comment:

  1. A deserved tribute to Le Panzanelle... what's not to love??

    --Panzanelle fans in New York

    PS Worth also mentioning that they have a lovely listing in Slow Food's guide to the "Osterie d'Italia."


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