Some highlights from the first two meals--
A few days ago, finally off the plane, I was starving and in need of some comfort food. Nancy and Sue met me at the Pisa airport after my expected travel time had doubled. After figuring out how to pay for airport parking, we drove to Lucca the long way (read: we got lost) then we got lucky and found a parking place kind of near our hotel, dumped my bags in the huge hotel suite and headed to Trattoria Da Francesco, a small family place I had eaten at on my last visit 6 years ago. Menu looked the same - I have one hanging on my kitchen wall. We shared antipasti of crostini, cheese and salami, house made tortelli Lucchese, half moon shaped ravioli stuffed with ricotta and tossed in ragu. Braised pork ribs over delicate polenta and bright red carpaccio with rucola and parmigiana filled us up. Drank an inexpensive bottle of Banfi Chianti. My belly full of Tuscan food I slept like a baby.
The next morning I was anxious to break my 6 month hiatus of coffee. Don't get any ideas that I've been saintly, I drink plenty of black tea every morning. Nancy and I headed to the nearest shop where I quickly downed a cappuccino and brioche ... and I was back!! Now I was ready to get in the car and head to Chianti. Our appointment at San Felice was in two hours.
Plenty of maps, one driver and two navigators got us there safely. What a beautiful winery with a fabulous four star hotel and restaurant. We got the full tour and lunch at San Felice. And when I say full, I mean 5 hours worth. Roberta showed us all around the estate and the chef, Luca, made us a special 6 course tasting menu. We sampled 7 of their wines with our lunch.
Lunch included papp'alla pomodoro, the Tuscan tomato bread soup, stuffed zucchini blossoms, steak tartare, baccala ravioli, veal cheeks straccoto and a pecorino cheese tasting with house made marmalades. And more cafe, of course. We left pleasantly full, lightly buzzed and armed with lots of restaurant recommendations from Roberta. Now we were ready to wind our way further into the hills of Chianti to find Podere Ciona, another winery and our place of refuge for the next few nights.
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Location:Lucca & Chianti