Foiano della Chiana is a small village in the province of Arezzo. It is home to a few thousand inhabitants
I have never visited the historic centre of Foiano della Chiana, but I do know that they have the best meat restaurant in town!
Fierli is an organic farm. They keep 200 Chianina calfs and 300 Cinta Senese pigs. The animals have 100 ha agriculture land for grazing.
A few years ago I visited the farm. The agriculture land is really impressive and nice to see.
Nicola, Cecilia, Francesco, Atos and Eros Fierli are all responsible for running the farm and the restaurant. It is a good place to eat and popular with locals who come to enjoy the bistecca and other high quality meat dishes.
The farm and restaurant are located in the centre, not far from the Valdichiana Outlet in Foiano della Chiana.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch.Only indoor dining is offered. Dinner is saved only for special occasions or a private dining event.
The shop is open at 9 am every day. I often buy meat at the Fierli’s butcher shop for new local recipes with wine I sell in my webshop.
The Cinta Senese pigs and the Chianina veals are merely slaughtered only by competent personnel at specialized established slaughterhouses.
Son Nicola and daughter Cecilia are committed to serving you amazing food. The restaurant offers dishes that showcase fresh local produce from their own farm.
The restaurant’s wine list consists of a small selection of local Tuscan wines. Cecilia is a certified FISAR sommelier and she loves to guide you through the range of wines and advice you on the perfect food pairing.
Cecilia is a good friend of mine, I have known her since our FISAR wine study in Italy.
Bistecca Chianina IGP
Chianina meat is protected by the IGP mark (Protected Geographical Indication). This means quality guaranteed.
IGP is linked to the place of origin where it is being produced, processed and prepared. The average weight of one bistecca is 1 kg and meant to serve 2-3 people.
Chianina is one of the finest meat. It is the oldest breed of cattle raised in Italy. Chianina is also called the “gigante bianco”, the white giant because of the size and the color.
Its territory of origin is the Val di Chiana in the province of Siena. You can find the Chianina breed in central Italy.
In ancient times the Chianina was used only for work, but since the ’30 in Bettole (Valdichiana) the breed is raised for meat production. The Chianina veal is not made for fast growing and slaughtering.
Chianina is the largest and oldest breed in the world. The meats are extremely delicious and healthy!
Cinta Senese DOP
The indigenous Cinta Senese pig is native to the Tuscan region and in particular nearby Siena. The breed is medium sized, with black skin and a white belt. They have been raised for centuries.
The pigs live in maximum freedom throughout diverse forests. The Cinta Senese pigs can eat whatever they want.
The meat has a DOP classification, which means local products of high quality. It has a unique and surprising flavour.
The main cured meats produced with the Cinta Senese breed are dry-cured ham, capocollo, finocchiona, salami, pancetta and so on.
Chianina and Cinta Senese Experience
Fierli organizes a Chianina and Cinta Senese Experience 2-3 times a week. Enjoy the possibility of high quality, organic, wholesome and KM zero food.
The chef prepares the best meat dishes for your lunch. It is an amazing experience when you’re on holiday in Italy. Also nice for children.
A visit to the local farmers market in Montepulciano is a very characteristic experience for any traveller. It is the best way to explore the authentic Italy. At the farmers market you find an amazing array of local produce that you don’t find in a supermarket.
The weekly market in Montepulciano is every Thursday morning from 8 am till 1 pm.
Address: Piazza Pietro Nenni in Montepulciano. The Piazza Pietro Nenni is nearby the busstation, just outside the historic centre of Montepulciano.
The stall holders feature the best local products. Buying food at the market in Montepulciano is a tradition. It became a hub for shopping and socializing in a relaxed outdoor atmosphere.
The Italian have always their go-to stalls for everything they need. Market stalls often put signs up warning “Non toccare” means do not touch the products. So, obviously it is up to the stall owners to do it.
The vendors are more than friendly and they will always choose the best pieces of fruit and vegetables for you. They serve you with a smile and you can always ask for a recipe or how to prepare it. They are very happy to answer all your questions.
At the market everything is sold by weight. You can also state the number of products you need.
It is a typical Italian market with fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, salumi, prosciutto, olives, honey, different types of pecorino cheeses, cod, mozzarella di bufala, “aglione” -giant garlic- roast chicken as well as kitchen utensils, clothes and shoes. There is always something for everyone!
Mini market in Montepulciano every Tuesday and Friday morning
Every Tuesday and Friday morning is a small outdoor market in the Via Marino Cappelli in front of the Banca Tema, just outside the historic centre. This small market is mostly frequented by locals.
There are only two market stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. The fish market vendor offer a wide range of fish and seafood, such as salmon, tune, calamari, squid, cuttlefish and prawns. In addition to the fresh fish, you’ll find all kinds of fried fish and fried vegetables like “fiori di zucca”. Fiori di zucca are blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese. Super delicious!
Weekly market in Chianciano Terme – Montepulciano
From Montepulciano after 6,5 km drive you arrive in Chianciano Terme.
Every Wednesday morning from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm many market stalls in Chianciano Terme offer a huge range from both food and non-food.
Address: Via delle Pace, Via dell’Abetone en Via dello Stadio in Chianciano Terme Parking is free.
The weekly market in Chianciano Terme is the place to be to do your shopping. The most stallholders are the same as in Montepulciano, like food stall “Rosticceria Volante” that sells roast chicken, potatoes, lasagne, fright vegetables and grilled pork.
Why going to the market?
I love to buy local produce at the market. I like knowing where the food I eat comes from and supporting local farmers. It is good for the environment and it benefits the local economy.
The food is super fresh compared to the grocery store foods. There is a huge Conad supermarket in Montepulciano, but on Thursday morning many Italian families and visitors prefer shopping locally at the market.
The market stalls showcase their locally fresh (seasonal) fruits and vegetables.
Italian specialty foods
Every week I go the market in Montepulciano. I often do my shopping at my favorite market stalls. Barra Francesco from Foiano della Chiana (AR) is the best stallholder to buy fresh mozzarella, olives, anchovies and burrata.
They have a small market stall, not only for cheese, but they sell also other delicacies from Southern Italy. It is a real family owned businesses where mother, father and son are all involved.
Mozzarella di bufala is a traditionally soft cheese produced in the region Campania. Mozzarella is a ball of fresh cheese and has a better texture, richness and overall flavor than the mozzarella cheese from a grocery store.
The family Barra also sells delicious taralli (typical snack from Puglia), taralli napoletani, different kinds of cheeses and dried tasty sausages.
Fresh food market video
Below a short impression video of the farmers market in Montepulciano. The market consists of a huge number of stalls with vegetables, fish, cheese and many more!
I have made this video during the first week after the lockdown in Italy. The market returned with food vendors only so that visitors had enough space to keep a distance from each other. Household goods and clothing weren’t available at the moment.
Recipes for ossobuco vary wildly. Although the “Ossobuco alla Milanese” from Lombardy may be one of the most famous and well known Italian secondo piatto.
My favorite recipe is: Ossobuco di Chianina al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva!
Ossobuco di Chianina IGP
You can pair ossobuco with other dishes. I am talking about delicious saffron risotto such as: Risotto alla Milanese.
As a side dish you may choose to eat ossobuco with polenta or with mashed potatoes.
The Italian ossobuco is a beef shank from the cow’s leg. It is a cut of meat butchered from a cow’s or bull leg.
Much is written on which part is best. It’s been said that veal shanks from the hind legs are the best! Meat from those parts is more voluminous and fleshy.
Ossobuco literally translates to “bone with a hole” with meat. You can prepare ossobuco from veal but also with other kinds of meat such as pork.
However, the finest meat for cooking, in Tuscany, is Chianina breed. It is high valued meat with a more intense taste.
For this recipe I bought the ossobuco di Chianina at the Fierli farm in Foiano della Chiana. Fierli is an organic farm. The animals have a long life and they are treated well.
The Ossobuco di Chianina al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva is a true Tuscan recipe. Many people don’t prepare it at home. Some cuts of veal from the store may be chewy.
Tip for buy-in, first look for shanks that are > 2 inches. If they’re too thin, they’ll braise too fast.
My style Ossobuco di Chianina al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva needs the following ingredients:
Recipe for 1 person
1 ossobuco di Chianina
red wine “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG” – Il Convento
1 clove of garlic
1 onion (soffritto)
1 celery (soffritto)
1 carrot (soffritto)
1 bay lief
When braising the ossobuco you may as well use meat broth or any other liquid (water). I prefer to use only wine. I do not mix the wine with other liquids. That would be a no-go, especially when it’s a high quality wine.
Also mixing tomatoes or tomato paste with red wine is not what I recommend. But that’s my personal opinion.
What else do you need
How to cook
Chop the onions, carrots and celery.
Peel the garlic.
Heat the pot until the olive oil is well heated. Instead of olive oil you may also use butter.
First stir-fry the garlic. When the garlic begins to colour reduce heat. Add the soffritto and cook the vegetables until they begin to soften and caramelize.
Meanwhile cover the Ossobuco with the flour.
Ossobuco di Chianina IGP
When the soffritto has a golden wheat color, remove it or move it to a side. It depends on the size of the stew pot. Sear the ossobuco on both sides until nicely browned. Sprinkle the ossobuco with salt and pepper.
Pour the red wine over the ossobuco and bring it to boil to evaporate the alcohol. Reduce the heat and add the bay leave and cloves.
Cover the pot and check occasionally. When the wine is absorbed just add a little extra. The meat should be left at a low temperature for about 2-3 hours.
When the meat is tender it will fall off the bone. The marrow in the hole of the bone is the best part of the ossobuco. It is a real delicacy and super yummy!
Serve the ossobuco on a plate and the warm wine sauce on top of it.
Ossobuco di Chianina al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG
What to serve with ossobuco
Due to its massive taste ossobuco goes well with a creamy risotto, mashed potatoes or polenta.
If you’re cooking beef or stew Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (sangiovese) is your friend. It affects the taste of the dish. The ripe flavors in this wine give complexity to the sauce and the meat. Chianina is a traditional and genuine meat with an intense and pure taste.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a full bodied wine. It is best when paired with the right food. In particular Chianina beef.
Nothing beats the magic of a brilliant wine and food pairing.
Watch this video recipe to see how to cook Ossobuco di Chianina al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva.
The region Tuscany is a land of cyclists, it offers a variety of itineraries. Biking is one of the best ways to explore more of this wonderful wine region!
Montepulciano is a scenic hilltop town. It stands on a limestone hill. This area is the right place for road and dirt road cycling routes, but good fitness is required.
The best period for cycling Tuscany on bike are from March to October. Riding in the summer can be hot, but you can bike early in the morning, avoiding the heat of the day. Many find it’s a great time to relax and plan their day.
If you are planning about cycling in Tuscany, the most important biking needs are a good bike (MTB or race), a helmet and a repair kit. Cycling with a helmet is really recommended!
Sylvia by bike
Bike itineraries to Pienza
There are amazing bike routes from Montepulciano to Pienza. The trail types are mostly asphalt and dirt roads. You ride along the hills overlooking the amazing views of Val d’Orcia.
Most of the trails are suitable for advanced – experienced riders. They are quite challenging but definitely worth it!
1) Mountain bike route Montepulciano – Pienza
This is a gravel road and a road itinerary. Ideal for MTB, not for tour or racing bikes. You’ll bike through hills, valleys, olive groves and vineyards. This is a spectaculair itinerary for experienced mountainbikers.
Distance 27 km.
2) Road cycling route Montepulciano – Pienza
Explore this amazing cycle route to Pienza! The start and arrival point is Montepulciano. From here you start the bike tour among the hills of the Val di Chiana valley. Passing Montichiello you’ll see the very best of the iconic Val d’Orcia valley.
Panoramic roads lead you the Renaissance village Pienza. Once you’ve passed Pienza you take the road back to Montepulciano.
Distance 38 km.
3) Road cycling route Montepulciano – Acquaviva – Montepulciano Stazione
This itinerary is almost my daily bike exercise. It is a short ride from the historic centre of Montepulciano to Acquaviva, Valiano and Montepulciano Stazione.
Montepulciano, Acquaviva and Valiano are hilly villages. The biking route around Montepulciano Stazione is primarily flat.
After leaving Montepulciano this road passes the villages of Acquaviva and Valiano. Once you reach Valiano you turn back the way up to Montepulciano Stazione and Montepulciano.
In the countryside of Montepulciano you can see the hospital of Nottola.
It is a nice panoramic ride, it has not many up and downs. Starting in Montepulciano you follow the signs direction Chianciano and Chiusi.
Chiusi is the former Etruscan city in the province of Siena.
Along the road to Chiusi you pass my favorite pizza restaurant “Jamaica”. Jamaica is close to the discotheque La Bussola In. The pizza’s at Jamaica are huge and delicious!
Turning left you take the downhill road to Montallese. When arriving in Montallese turn right and you take the dirt road – cycle path to Lago di Montepulciano (Lake Montepulciano). This path is also called “Il sentiero della Bonifica.”
Sentiero della Bonifica
From there you follow the dirt road to Valiano, Montepulciano Stazione and then the road back to Montepulciano. Cycling uphill to Montepulciano is not easy. The road is not very steep but it is long. For this track you need a reasonable fitness.
Acciderba is Tuscan dialect. In Italian they say “accidenti” which means in English “wow” or “gosh”.
The winery Azienda Agricola Serni Fulvio Luigi in Castagneto Carducci has made up the name “Acciderba” for their most important Bolgheri Rosso DOC wine – and an exquisite one it is!
The wine Acciderba is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. After wood aging in barrique for 12 months the wine is then bottled and set to age for a further 5 months.
It is an intense red wine with a strong identity and a long finish. On the palate flavours of small blackberries, ripe red fruit and soft tannins. This wine pairs well with wild boar, old cheeses and braised beef.
Everyone has their own taste and preference, but the wine Acciderba Rosso Bolgheri DOC is one of my favorite red wines from the Bolgheri area.
Wine tasting at Azienda Agricola Serni Fulvio Luigi
Wine tasting in Bolgheri is one of the not to be missed “experiences” while on a holiday in Tuscany. There are many options for a wine tasting and tour in this area with all range of possibilities and prices.
Azienda Agricola Serni Fulvio Luigi is a small winery in Castagneto Carducci. Castagneto Carducci is a lovely hilltop town from where you have amazing views over the hills and the sea.
The vineyards from the winery are exposed on the slopes down towards the sea and are close to Bolgheri. The wines they make are Bolgheri Vermentino, Bolgheri Rosato and Bolgheri Rosso DOC on their family-owned 5 hectares of vineyards.
Besides making wine, Azienda Agricola Serni Fulvio Luigi is also a “frantoio”, an olive oil producer.
The whole family is involved with the wine production and sale of their wines and olive oil, likely partly to account for the love and exceptional quality of the wines.
It wasn’t the first time that I have visited this wine cellar. I know the family personally. They are very welcoming, personable and friendly. The atmosphere, tour, wines and food are superb.
The wines they serve are accompanied by local cheeses and meats, such as dried ham and capocollo. Capocollo is a traditional Italian cured meat made from the neck of a pig. Both products are homemade. Their meat comes from a local organic pig farm and is cured on site by the family.
With the coronavirus pandemic, they haven’t been open to the public for a long time. A visit is well worth it if you’re in the area -send me photos from your experiences there- I’d love to see.
Hopefully they will be able to receive more guests for a wine tour and tasting in 2021.
Information for wine tasting:
Azienda Agricola Serni Fulvio Luigi Località Le Lame 237 57022 Castagneto Carducci (LI) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bolgheri is a hamlet in the municipality of Castagneto Carducci, in the province of Livorno, between the coastal cities Cecina and San Vincenzo. The coastline is called the Etruscan Coast “Costa degli Etruschi” or “Etruria”.
The village is famous for its Super Tuscan wines. The most important wineries are Tenuta San Guido, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Guado al Tasso.
Golfo di Baratti
The Maremma region is the land of the Etruscans. Many small towns have interesting Etruscan remains, wine roads, a mixture of woods and unspoiled walking trails.
A famous 5 km long cypress road leads you to the historic village Bolgheri. This lane is well known thanks to Giosuè Carducci in his poem “Davanti a San Guido” (In front of San Guido).
Bolgheri is dominated by its fortified castle and is worth visiting, but the main thing to see in Bolgheri is the village itself.
In the heart of this pretty little town are many wine bars and restaurants. They all serve local wines for tastings as well as by the bottle and typical Tuscan foods.
Enoteca Tognoni Via Lauretta 5 57022 Bolgheri (LI)
Francesco Tognoni is the owner of this wine bar. He is a wonderful host. With special care and treatment, Francesco and his team make sure you have a comfortable evening out while enjoying good wines and foods.
The prices in Bolgheri for a good glass of wine are in every location the same. Enoteca Tognoni is a cosy wine bar, really recommended. Making a reservation is necessary, especially in high season.
Brasato means braised beef. The best part about the recipe “Brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” is that it is an easy and slow cooker recipe.
This meat dish is delicious on a cold winter evening. Springtime is not really the season for a beef stew. But when it’s cold and rainy outside it is the perfect food to warm you up a bit!
There are many recipes of braised beef, but when preparing an outstanding brasato it is important to have high quality meat and good wine.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG
What kind of wine would you recommend to use in beef stew?
I prefer a full bodied, robust red wine such as the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.
This wine gives a very special aroma to the meat.
For this delicious recipe I use the perfect Chianina beef. This meat is expensive, but it is a very healthy meat and low in cholesterol.
Chianina is probably the oldest breed of cattle in Italy. Did you know that? This animal is also called the giant white cow “gigante bianco”.
Chianina farm Fierli
The homeland of the white Chianina cow is the Valdichiana area. The Fierli family is a four generations farm in Foiano della Chiana. A small town located between Cortona and Montepulciano. Today the family keeps 200 Chianina cows on 100 hectares of agriculture land.
Cecilia is member of the family Fierli. She came up with the rich, warm stew recipe “il brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”. Guanciale di Chianina cheek in Vino Nobile wine.
The cheek is a hard working muscle that needs to be cooked very slow. It takes hours before the meat is tender, but it is worth waiting for!
Besides guanciale di Chianina and Vino Nobile wine other necessary ingredients for this dish are olive oil, soffritto, salt and pepper.
A soffritto is the Italian cooking base for sauces, soups, stews and many more. It is an aromatic mix of onion, carrots and celery.
Besides the basic ingredients I add bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves and fresh rosemary. Really recommended!
It’s important to bring the meat out of the fridge a few hours before cooking. The meat must come up to room temperature.
In this recipe the marination step is not necessary.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 3 hours at least Serves: 2 people
450 gram of bovine cheek (Chianina) > 1/2 liter of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine
2 tablespoons extra-vergin olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 stick celery finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 juniper berries
salt, pepper, fresh rosemary
What else do you need
How to cook
Don’t remove the fat before cooking, that gives the meat a unique flavor and texture.
Clean, wash and chop the onions, carrots and celery.
Heat the stew pot over medium-high heat. Brown the soffritto in hot olive oil. Stirring frequently. The soffritto should be cooked until dorata (golden brown).
Add the meat to the pan and season it with salt and pepper.
Pour in the wine and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat, add the bay leaves, rosemary, cloves and juniper berries.
Cover the pot and turn the meat occasionally.
Leave the meat at a low and slow temperature.
The wine will evaporate. Let the wine reduce a bit and add more wine or other liquids when necessary.
After a few hours, when the meat is tender, remove it to a carving board. Slice the meat. Before serving make sure you remove the woody herbs stems and any bay leaves.
Arrange the meat on a serving plate and pour the wine sauce on top.
What to serve with beef stew
Serve warm with mashed potatoes, polenta or roasted potatoes with rosemary.. my favorite contorno!
A delicious antipasto
Antipasto misto di Cinta Senese: coppa, capocollo and speck.
Cinta Senese is an ancient Tuscan black pig with a white belt. They live free and they have a long and good life. The cinta senese meat has a DOP classification. It is top quality meat.
The main course pairs with the high tannic red wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG.
Red wine and fatty or high-protein foods is a perfect wine and food pairing.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG wine is an outstanding wine in the Tuscany region. Buon appetito!
Watch this video recipe to see how to cook il Brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!