Our older daughter, Alison, and her fiancé, Mitch, came for a weeklong visit in mid-October. They arrived on a Friday and shocked us that evening with the announcement that they are expecting a baby in March! We will be “nonni” (grandparents) for the first time, and we’re very excited! Mitch has two delightful sons, Trevor and Justin, so we’ll go from no grandchildren to three in the blink of an eye, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
After spending just one day in Rome, we packed the car Sunday and headed north to visit Tuscany. One of Michael’s colleagues had suggested that we stop in Pienza, in the southern part of Tuscany, for lunch, and we did. Unfortunately, we got a bit of a late start, so we were hungry and had time only to find a restaurant and be sure that they could serve us—we couldn’t stop to see the sights. We raced through the beautiful old Renaissance town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which was rebuilt in the 1400s by Pope Pius II, who was born there. Our goal was a restaurant that Michael had read about, but it was full. That restaurateur recommended another restaurant—at the other end of town—and we raced back the way we had come. The second restaurant, Dar Falco, was winding down its lunch business, but the owner agreed to fix us lunch. What a feast!
Dar Falco has four or five tasting menus with wine pairings, and we ordered three of the tasting menus (Michael and Mitch had the same tasting menu but chose different courses). My antipasto, Carpaccio di Bresaola, may have been my favorite course: thin slices of beef with arugula and Parmesan cheese. I didn’t leave a crumb! For our primi Al and I had Ravioli Burro e Salvia (homemade ravioli with ricotta and spinach topped with butter and sage sauce); Michael had ribollita (vegetable stew with beans and bread), and Mitch had the first of many, many servings of his beloved cinghiale (wild boar), this one in a sauce over spaghetti. If cinghiale was on a menu where we were dining, Mitch had it! Al had steak for her secondo, I had pigeon, Michael had cinghiale stew, and Mitch had roast suckling pig with plum and green apple sauce. Sublime!
I was too full of food and wine to stay awake during the two-hour trip north to Borgo di Pietrafitta, where we stayed with my family last summer, so I took a nap in the car. I suspect that Al did, too, but Michael was driving, and Mitch stayed awake to keep him company, thank goodness.
If you’re traveling to Tuscany and Pienza is nearby, stop there and eat a fabulous typical Tuscan lunch. You won’t need any dinner!