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Eating in Tuscany and Dinner at La Grotta Restaurant in Montepulciano

While we had some nice meals in Rome, I can easily say that Tuscany had the best food of the trip and that includes our meals in Florence and in the countryside.  The food in Tuscany was definitely heavier with a focus on pastas with meat sauces, ragus, massive bone-in steaks and braised meat and game dishes.

The highlight of the trip and one that was completely unplanned was a dinner at the Michelin-starred La Grotta restaurant in Montepulciano.  We had originally planned to do a big Florentine steak dinner at a restaurant in Montepulciano but it turned out to be closed so we asked our hotel manager for a recommendation and he made arrangements for us to eat at La Grotta.  Apparently it’s a very well known restaurant and in the summertime, you need reservations weeks in advance but we got one last minute and were only one of two tables dining there that evening.  We did the tasting menu and it was worth every penny!  Lots of food porn shots below.

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Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu
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Stephen had a massive plate of lamb ragu on polenta
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Loving my braised beef cheeks
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Our best meal – La Grotta in Montepulciano
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Tasting menu at La Grotta
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La Grotta – amuse bouche of pureed pumpkin with parmesan crisp
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Eggplant appetizer with local pancetta
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My favorite dish of the evening – basically an Italian style French onion soup made with local sweet onions – pure heaven
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Probably my least favorite dish but it was still quite good.  Chicken liver pate with vin santo and honey.  It had a strong iron flavor to it
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Loved these pillowy little raviolis filled with braised duck
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Main entree was roasted local pork on broccoli rabe.  So, so good
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Dessert sampling – my favorite was the one in the back which was a deconstructed tiramisu

Our hotel had a restaurant with a lovely patio terrace but they were only one the day we arrived as it was low season.  In November, be prepared for many local restaurants in the countryside to be closed.  Our hotel did an incredible sampler platter of the local pecorino cheese and honey – it is a must try in Tuscany!

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Platter of local pecorino cheeses – don’t miss this
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View from our hotel terrace

We also did a lunch at a local winery one day called Le Ripi.  They served us a platter of local charcuterie and pecorino cheeses, followed by a salad made with greens from their biodynamic farm and then a homemade lasagna, all paired with Brunello wines.  You may notice that everything in Tuscany is locally sourced and it was so fresh and delicious!

I really want to come back and visit the Chianti region next!

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