The best Chianina steak in Foiano della Chiana

The best Chianina steak in Foiano della Chiana

Foiano della Chiana

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 farm

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.

Restaurant Fierli

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.

For more information and bookings: ChianinaItaly

 

Biking in Montepulciano

Biking in Montepulciano

Biking in Montepulciano – Tuscany

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!

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.

Val d’Orcia

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

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.

Distance 27.6 km.

4) Road cycling route Montepulciano – Chianciano – Montallese – Montepulciano Stazione

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!

Pizza Jamaica

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.

Distance 53 km.

Happy cycling!

 

Il brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano recipe

Il brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano recipe

Beef braised in red wine

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.

Chianina beef

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!

Important information

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

Ingredients recipe

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
  • 3 cloves

salt, pepper, fresh rosemary

What else do you need

Stew pot

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.

Wine

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, available on my wine webshop.

Buon appetito!

Watch this video recipe to see how to cook il Brasato al Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!

 

 

Easter holidays in Tuscany

Easter holidays in Tuscany

Easter 2021

During the Easter holidays the whole of Italy was classified “red” from 3 – 5 April. In a red zone it is prohibited to leave your hometown except for work and health reasons.

Over the Easter period we were allowed to visit friends and families in their homes with a maximum of two visitors at a time.

Tuscany will remain under the heaviest restrictions until April 20, as I read in a newspaper. The infections are not declining.

Pizza

Last Saturday I went for a bike ride and pizza dinner with my friends. It’s been weeks since we met. We’re not seeing each other often these days because we do not live in the same municipality. I live in Montepulciano. My friends have a house in Montallese and in Chiusi. Two towns in Tuscany.

Pizza is a social food. A food for family and friends. I never make a frozen pizza at home. For me a pizza is to be eaten at a pizzeria. It must be eaten immediately after it comes out of pizza oven and must be made by an expert!

Our friend in Montallese has recently installed a wood fired pizza oven in his garage. He prepared for us a variety of pizzas. Gianfranco is an Italian pizza chef!

I had a great dinner and I really enjoyed the pizzas. It has been a long time since I have had a so good pizza. Too long…

The nationwide curfew from 10 PM till 5 AM is still active. In Italy we usually eat late, around 8 – 9 PM. With the current rules we eat a little earlier.

Pizza dinner

Online wine tasting

I have celebrated Easter at my home in Montepulciano.

I’ve had a fabulous evening with American people. Together we’ve tasted -virtually- some nice Tuscan wines from the winery Gattavecchi.

For more information visit the page A Taste of Tuscany!

Online wine tasting

Piazza Grande

Pasquetta

Pasquetta was spent on running, foods and friends. We were allowed to travel.

I went to Chiusi for a 12 km run and a lunch.

Friends from Chiusi – Tuscany

A typical Tuscan Easter food is “ciaccia di Pasqua”. In Umbria they call it “torta di Pasqua”. It’s a pizza filled with cheese. La ciaccia di Pasqua is perfect for your Easter picnic.

la ciaccia di Pasqua and capocollo

Normally we eat the ciaccia with capocollo. Super delicious!

ciaccia di Pasqua

Last but not least there was a tiramisù to conclude our Pasquetta lunch.

Tiramisù

Buon appetito!

 

Wine tasting and tour at Dievole in the Chianti area

Wine tasting and tour at Dievole in the Chianti area

Wine estate Dievole in the Chianti Classico area

The wine estate Dievole is located in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most popular wine region of Tuscany between Siena and Florence.

Dievole overlooks the wonderful vineyards and olive groves. It covers an area of 400 hectares within the Chianti Classico territory in Vagliagli.

Dievole is an old winery founded in the 11th century. This Italian winery has a thousand year history.

Today Dievole is owned by an oil tycoon from Argentina “Alejandro Bulgheroni” and is part of a network of wineries in Tuscany: Chianti Classico, Bolgheri and Montalcino.

Dievole Tuscan wines

The winery Dievole produces elegant wines such as Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Vin Santo and IGT white wine. But they make also other Italian great wines: Bolgheri DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.

Dievole Tuscan wines

Wine tour and tasting

During the wine tour we discovered the history and the taste of Dievole wines. We were with a small group of 9 persons (it is necessary to pre-arrange this wine experience).

Tasting room

Our guide waited for us at the wine shop. She started with a brief introduction to the wines and the history of Dievole. After a small talk we walked through the vineyards, the historic wine cellars and tasting rooms.

After the tour we started with individual tastings of the quality wines including good cheeses and local meats.

 

Wine and food pairing

Wine and food pairing