Dario Cecchini-To "Meat Or Not Meat," That is not the question!

Dario Cecchini-To "Meat Or Not Meat," That is not the question!

Tuscany is one of my favorite regions in Italy. Panzano in Chianti is an easy drive from Florence. 

Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano is a must visit for carnivores! Many foodies who watch the Chefs Table™ series on Netflix have enjoyed the episode featuring “Dario, the butcher”! His storied past includes in 2001 staging a funeral for Fiorentina T-Bone that the EU banned during the heights of the “mad cow” virus. 

The world’s most famous and most colorful butcher’s home base is Panzano in Chianti. This small village is a “wine town.” Located 35 km from Florence, Panzano is a lovely hilltop town with several world-class wine producers such as Fontodi. 

Dario Cecchini’s Butcher Shop is easy to locate. It is the only building on the block with a red and white striped front. The shop is cozy, with typical glass counters showcasing cuts of meat—a glass-walled walk-in displays hanging meats and sausages dangling from hooks.  

Restaurant “Officina Della Bistecca” is located above his butcher shop. 

They offer lunch from 1 to 1:30 pm and Dinner from 8:00 to 8:30 pm. 

We visited for Dinner. When we arrived at 8:00 pm, Dario and his team greeted the guests in the butcher shop with Charcuterie and sliced bread with his delicious signature Chianti Butter (Lard mixed with a mixture of seasoned salt and pepper). They also poured locally produced Chianti from typical round straw-covered bottles (fiasco). The wine is ok, but not at the quality level of most enthusiasts’ standards. Luckily, they allow patrons to bring their bottles. We were fortunate to get three different bottles from our earlier stop at Fontodi winery. Interestingly, Fontodi’s owner also sells 60 of his steers to Dario per year. 

In the background, Dario was playing AC DC’s “Live at Donington” album. He was rocking back and forth and smiling to “Hell’s Bells.” He was gleaming and clanging glasses with guests that huddled around his refrigerated meat counter. 

At 8:30 pm, we were motioned upstairs to the dining room. In the center, a large wooden communal table that seats 50 guests. The back wall is a large brick wood-fired indoor grill where the team members cooked large meat slabs. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is cut three fingers thick. A rare steak takes 8 minutes on each side, then several minutes standing vertically. 

Dario’s team cooks all meats rare and slices everything for serving on platers family style.

Menu Officina (50 Euros per person)

•Chianti Crudo (Beef Tartar) 
•Carpaccio di Culo (Seared rump carpaccio) 
•Costada alla Fiorentina (Famous Florentine Steak)
•Bistecca Panzanese (A cut from the “butt”, nice and thick)
•Bistecca Fiorentina (beefsteak Florentine style)

Includes;

•Fagioli all’ extravergine (Tuscan beans with EVO) 
•Patate al cartoccio (Baked potatoes) 

Via XX Luglio, 11, 50022 Panzano In Chianti FI, Italy
Tel.: +39 055 852020
Email: info@dariocecchini.com

Website: https://www.dariocecchini.com/en/

Where To Stay:

Dario’s Sister Marina has a lovely B&B in town.
Double rooms start at E 70 per night. For details visit
http://www.marinacecchini.info/en/

COVID-19 Updates

Restaurants are open in Italy with heavy restrictions. Currently, they must close by 6 pm.

According to the DarioCechini.Com website, the butcher shop is open daily to 4 pm, and the restaurant is serving lunch only. The Cecchini Panini Truck is open 7 days per week.

Dario and his American-born wife Kim Wicks have been spending more time watching Netflix.

They have been visiting their dear friend Faith Willinger weekly at her home in Florence to enjoy a homemade dinner. Faith is a James Beard Nominated American-born Author who has resided in Italy for more than forty years. She is an authority on Italian cuisine and restaurants with commentaries on the popular Chefs Table Series, appearing on the Dario Cecchini, Corrado Assenza and Massimo Bottura episodes. 

Recently, I reached out to Faith to get her take on Chianti Classico wines and life in Italy during COVID.

“Chianti Classico. Based on Sangiovese but with 20% other grapes to personalize. Each winery chooses its own style. You have to know what each winery does. Chianti Classico goes with almost everything for me. With Dario’s meat-beef or pork, it’s perfect. 

Dealing with Covid-19 isn’t easy. When we’re in lockdown we can’t even leave our commune. And only a few guests in my kitchen. Luckily Dario and Kim come for dinner weekly. My kitchen is his favorite place to eat in Firenze. 

Post Covid-19 I dream of southern Italy. Campania and Sicily. Travels with our great friend Vito Santoro. 

Dario is so creative. He’s used his time well, finishing work on his restaurants, sorting through pictures (he’s sent me some gems) and creating new jarred products, sending his terrific meat to fans. His new steak cut Etrusca is an example. 

Always in my kitchen besides Dario’s meat and fennel flowers. 

Extra virgin, so taken for granted that it’s simply called oil. 
Beans, no Tuscan can live without them
•Bread, not easy to find a great Tuscan bread but once again Dario to the rescue with a clandestine bakery in Panzano. Otherwise, I get a 4 kg loaf sent from an ancient straw burning oven in Orsara di Puglia, Pane e Salute”.
Faith Willinger, 26 January, 2021.   

Check out Faith Willinger’s website: https://www.faithwillinger.com/

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