I’ve been hungry for chicken fricassee (fricassee di pollo) for the past couple of days. When I think of chicken fricassee, I remember the four magical days that Michael, his brother (Charlie), and I spent last September at Villa Bordoni on a hill just west of Greve-in-Chianti. I feel the warm sun. I hear . . . absolutely nothing. I see the restful garden and the vineyards and olive trees on the nearby mountains. I taste the local wine and the delicious meals prepared in the villa’s restaurant. And I long to return for a few days or a week or a month. Ahhhhhh!
To get to Villa Bordoni, you must drive for about four miles or so up a narrow gravel road lined with vineyards loaded with grapes for Chianti wine. At some of the hairpin turns, you pray that another car is not bounding recklessly down the mountain, and when you succeed in making those turns, you breathe a sigh of relief (silently, of course, so you don’t disturb the driver). In the distance you can see a nearby medieval hill town (Montefioralle), which you want to explore without delay. Then you arrive at Villa Bordoni, and you never want to leave again.
A Scottish couple, the Gardners, spent three years converting a crumbling 16th-century villa into a hotel, which they opened in 2006. They are great hosts, and their staff, all of whom seem to have been there since the day the hotel opened, are charming and helpful.
As for the chicken fricassee, we helped make this dish when we took a cooking class at the villa. Six of us joined one of the hotel’s chefs to drink wine and make focaccia, eggplant tart with bufala mozzarella and tomato sauce (fabulous!), spaghetti all’amatriciana (lighter than the Roman version), chicken fricassee, and tiramisu (which Charlie constructed by himself). The class ended around 6 p.m. The chefs shooed us out of the kitchen so they could finish our handiwork, and we retired to that glorious garden to sip Aperol Spritzes until “our” dinner was served. I’ve since made that superb chicken fricassee, and I may be making it again soon, since I can’t get it out of my head!
But pictures speak louder than words, so below you will see glimpses of the lovely, peaceful, relaxing Villa Bordoni.