Address: Via XX Luglio, 11, 50022 Panzano in Chianti – Fi , Italy
Phone Number: +39 055 852020
What I paid: 50 € (meat tasting menu per person, including water and wine)
Visited: October 27, 2017
Dario Cecchini is the world famous butcher with an almost rock & roll status. Born in 1955 in the Tuscan village of Panzano where his father was the butcher, the eighth generation of Cecchini butchers. He studied veterinary science at the university in Pisa but in 1976, three years into his six-year course, had to take over the family business from his dying father. Described as “… a personality, a celebrity, and a butcher extraordinaire. A theatrical host, a showstopper, and an artist”.
When approaching the butcher shop, the first thing you notice, is the loud music. This time playing AC/DC.
Dario´s style as a merchant has almost become grandiose to the point of theatricality. Elevated behind his meat counter, like a stage, he declaims poetry or sings. Outside the butcher shop is a full-sized model of a cow in hallucinogenic colors.
Cecchini is on a mission to protect and promote the traditional local butcher from the rise of the powerful supermarkets, explained that he believed butchery was an ancient art that involved a respect for the animal, seeing his role as that of teacher and educator.
Panzano is a village with a population of about 3000, on the old road between Florence and Siena.
You can choose between three different menus:
- MENU DEL MACELLAIO
- MENU VEGETARIANO
(Vegetarian menu that could be order in two different sizes)
- MENU OFFICINA
(The “workshop” meat menu)
I do not understand the person coming here, to this world famous meat butcher, and order an all vegetarian menu. Personally we, of course, opted for the big meat menu (i.e. Menu Officina).
According to Cecchini, there are no “premium” and “lower” cuts of meat, but rather all the parts of the animal were useful if butchered and cooked in an appropriate way.
The beef and pork served are usually of no specific breed and raised in Catalonia (Spain). Occasionally the beef might be of the Chianina breed and come from the Manetti family on the Fontodi farm in Panzano (in Chianti).
The Officina della Bistecca menu is the restaurants welcoming way of answering the challenging question of how to cook Her Majesty, namely the Bistecca alla Fiorentina and Her Sisters the Costata and the Panzanese steak. The Officina is presently 50 € per person.
At the Officina the restaurant serves their dishes family-style and each diner can eat as much or as little as they wish from the fixed-price menu. At the second floor, above the butcher shop, you are assigned a seat. Just like in a theatre, you pay for the seat and then the feast starts!
This is what we had:
· Beef tartar
· Seared rump carpaccio
· Costata alla Fiorentina (Bone-in Rib eye or Strip steak)
· Bistecca Panzanese (Panzanese steak)
· Bistecca Fiorentina (T-bone / Porterhouse)
· Vegetables to dip in extra virgin olive oil
· Tuscan beans with e.v. olive oil
· Baked potatoes
· Chianti “butter”
· Tuscan bread
· Vittorio’s wine (Vino di Vittorio di Montefioralle)
(You are also free to bring your own wine, without corkage fee)
· Water with and without bubbles
· Coffee, e.v.olive oil cake
· Grappa and Italian Military spirits
I was very happy with the food (i.e. meat) served here! For sure, a little bit touristic and theatrical for my taste, but unquestionable very enjoyable! Also glad to see that an entrepreneur like Dario Cecchini can employ local people and create a lively business in this little sleepy village. Well worth a visit when in Chianti/Tuscany!