We’ve just come back from nearly 3 weeks in one of our favourite places in the world, Tuscany. If you follow my blog or any of my social media channels, you’ll know we go there often and every time we do, I fall in love with the place even more.
We’re lucky to be able to spend as much time there as we’d like and it’s important for us that our daughter grows up with this beautiful place in her life and even speaks Italian (which I’m desperately trying to master).
Obviously, with Italy, comes Italian food. My absolute favourite cuisine. And we did a lot of eating (to the detriment of my weight loss) and a lot of drinking (oops). So onto the point…where to eat in Tuscany…
Where to eat in Tuscany
Where we ate
One place we discovered and visited twice on our trip, was the little picturesque town of Castelfalfi. It’s a strange but wonderful little place. A man made Tuscan village, almost too perfect, but sat on top of a hill with the most stunning views. Apparently, the town was bought by German investors, who built a golf course, hotel and resort. This is why the place is literally perfect. It’s almost like Disneyland built a Tuscan village.
For us, this means that some of the soul that makes Tuscany so interesting is not there, but there’s no denying, it’s a pretty amazing place to visit and there’s a charming restaurant, right at the top of the village with views to die for – La Rocca di Castelfalfi.
We went for a romantic, early birthday meal, just the two of us (luckily the grandparents were at hand to babysit). It’d been a while since we had a leisurely evening out together, so I was super excited and when we walked up to La Rocca, my heart skipped a beat. I mean, look at that view!
There were just six tables set-up with crisp white linen on their terrace and we were sat in the perfect position to enjoy the sun setting over the Tuscan hills.
We opted for the 4 course tasting menu and I chose to have the suite of wines to match (hubby was driving…gutted).
It wasn’t long before the most incredible basket of freshly baked bread was brought to our table (the pizzetta and italian croissants were my favourite…in fact we ate them so quickly that another round was brought over before we’d got our first course).
The bread was quickly followed by an amuse-bouche which included tiny squares of local ham and a tomato foam. Unexpected and delicious. All washed down with my first wine, a Franciacorta sparkling wine. Now I know Italians do Prosecco, in fact, it’s my favourite drink. But I’d never heard of Franciacorta, which apparently is even better. And you know what? It was delicious!
It complimented my first course beautifully – Chianna Beef Tartare. Wow! Easily the standout dish of the whole meal. The presentation was beautiful and summery and the flavours were such a surprise. We didn’t expect the cocoa soil, which complimented the sweet puree wonderfully.
Next course and next wine – Homemade Ravioli which was salted cod, parsley and tomatoes, washed down with a Tuscan Chardonnay. Now I know what you’re thinking…Chardonnay? If you’re like me, this conjures up thoughts of cheap pub wine you bought when you were 18? But no, this was wonderfully oaky, light and complemented the salty fish perfectly. Again, the presentation was stunning and I was happy to have lots of lovely ravioli parcels to devour.
The third course and wine – Suckling Pig which was rolled and baked and served with a sweet and smokey barbecue sauce. I didn’t know what to expect with this dish and I rarely order pork, but oh my, I’m glad I did! Simply delicious and the meat was tender, succulent and crispy in the right places. This was paired with a Valpolicella from the Veneto region of Italy (up near Venice and Verona). Again, a perfect pairing. The wine was full bodied, but didn’t over power the sweet pork.
Then onto dessert. This was probably my least favourite course, but was still incredibly tastey (just not my sort of dessert). In fact, hubby went for the selection of ice creams, which were totally stunning (order these!). One was wild berry, one wild flower and the other Baileys. Beautifully presented in little Le Creuset pots too. But the winner of the dessert course was the amazing Vin Santo (dessert wine) it was served with. I liked it so much, I got a top up. It was sweet and warming in the throat and a lovely way to finish an amazing meal.
Hubby of course had a caffe to finish, I just sipped my second vin santo 🙂
Il conto (the bill)
A stunning meal enjoyed in a stunning venue. And at only 50 euros for the tasting menu and another 25 euros for the matching wines, we really thought this was reasonable for a special meal like this.
Book a table for 8pm to catch the late evening sun and to enjoy the sunset – you really won’t be disappointed.
Another visit to La Rocca
We actually went back the following week, as a group of 12 for a birthday lunch. The lunch menu is different, but just as tasty. Not quite as refined and you don’t get as many “wow” moments, but at 24 euros for 4 courses and a glass of wine, it’s a great relaxed lunch option and excellent value for money. We had beef carpaccio, rabbit white ragout pasta (amazing!), beef entrecote (ask for it rare or you’ll get it medium!) and a strawberry yoghurt panna cotta – delicious! Of course, we washed it down with a magnum of Franciacorta too. Would be rude not to.
The interior is pretty stunning too and I noticed there’s a cookery school inside and upstairs!
By the time we left, the sun had set and the town was asleep. What a wonderful visit to the Tuscan town of Castelfalfi. Definitely recommend a visit.
Are you planning a trip next year?