Ristoro Di Lamole, Via di Lamole, 6, 50022 Greve In Chianti Firenze, Italy
On Sunday, we drove an hour and a half to spend three hours sitting on a restaurant terrace overlooking Tuscan hills covered with green vineyards, olive groves and fig trees while we dined on food that had been crafted by hands who really care about what they put out. If there is a heaven, Fellow FoodBeest, this would be exactly what we will find there.
Ristoro di Lamole, perches on a hilltop high above a charming Tuscan town called Greve in Chianti. It was accessible by long, mostly unmarked winding roads to the summit where sits the hamlet of Lamole. We were surrounded by mostly Italian families with lots of well behaved chattering, playing children. A table with three young, nicely inked Italian men behind us and another table of slightly older, also well-dressed Italian men, several with jaunty straw panamas with black ribbons, all enjoying the sunshine, the soft warm air, the glorious vistas, and the food. OMG, the food.
Hours later, after the uncommonly long and leisurely lunch, we discovered the Tuscan version of Chicago’s Green City Market, an organic outdoor marketplace in Greve where venders were selling local honey, preserves, sauces, breads, baskets and one gentleman under a tent was demonstrating how to make homemade ricotta cheese.
And in that town was also an incredible pork butcher Macelleria Florni, - a famed salumiere or sausage maker with an enormous variety of the most beautiful hams, bacons, salamis, cheeses I have ever seen in one place. Not surprisingly, a stuffed wild boar greeted customers at the door.
We’ve now seen much of Italy: from Como, Milan and Venice in the far north to Amalfi and Sicily in the south. It is an extraordinarily beautiful country. Volcanoes and undoubtedly icebergs have left this peninsula nation with grand flowing hills and mountains: cliffs that extend to the edges of the sea. There are places where the colors are staggering in their vibrancy and contrast; where everywhere you look is a cacophony of beauty. Each moment more splendid than the last. It can be overwhelming
But nothing compares to Tuscany. It has a particular light and a particular calm that we have not seen anywhere else.
We had been to this location, this restaurant, before when we first discovered Tuscany with Mr. FB’s brother Chuck and his wife Ronnie, two of our favorite people. So when I awoke early on Sunday I emailed the restaurant with a luncheon reservation request – the better to see the countryside. In the request, I said we had not forgotten his restaurant.
And owner Fillipo generously had one table on the terrace left for us.
“Senora,” Fillipo said coming to our table and taking my hand. “You were up so early this morning. We are so glad to have you back with us.”
I would bet big, big euros that Fillipo had no clue who I was, but he is a smart businessman and knows how to make his customers feel welcomed and wanted.
And the food! The food represents everything we love about Tuscany. It is simple and elegant and sourced locally in the surrounding Chianti region.
We started with a shared appetizer: seasonal asparagus in a rich spring green, some of it sliced, some of it pureed, surrounding a perfectly poached egg with a sprinkling of black salt. I doesn’t get simpler than that. Asparagus and an egg. Music.
I had a light, sweet ravioli with pear and pecorino cheese from Siena. The perfect ravioli al dente held for a moment before the clouds of real ricotta were released in my mouth, lightly punctuated by the sweetness of pear and the bite of pecorino cheese. Mr. FB enjoyed a heartier wild boar tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms and then we shared a braised local rabbit (sorry Bugs). And yes, it tastes a lot like chicken.
Still not wanting to leave, Mr. FB ordered a tiramisou, one half sprinkled with chocolate powder. Like a black-and-white cookie.