In general, a face to face meeting with Tuscan cuisine cannot miss in the life of an individual who loves good food, am I wrong? In particular, a traveling reality show for Italy, which talks about food, cannot (and should not) ignore Tuscan cuisine. AMEN.
Here is it then, the bus of C’è Posto for 30, for the fourth episode, arrived in the heart of the Chiantishire, in Castellina in Chianti, a paradise for gourmet around the world.
On that Pulman directed to Tuscany, there was also me; sitting at the table of the Experts, yes, a privilege but also a responsibility. We 4 experts, as we repeat in turn in each episode (I imagine you have noticed, lol), we are demanding, meticulous. We are called to taste every dish with criterion, precision and to give a reading that not everyone can give.
Contrary to what happens in the Table of Friends, for example, we cannot leave us to go joking about the beauty and sympathy of any waiters or to remember the kitchen at home, such as the Table of Foreigners.
Rather, we can and must speak about the punctuality or otherwise of the service, of the mise en place, of the maturation of the meat, and so on.
in the last 4 episodes (means 8 restaurants), we have given one 7, and all the others were 4!
What boredom is these experts but be severe is our role. Attention, we give low votes but motivated at risk of appearing pedantic, we never give votes randomly.
But let’s get to the heart of the episode. At Castellina in Chianti, we have had to deal with two very different restaurants, but united by the excellent quality of raw materials. Meat, vegetables, typical regional pasta, in short, flavors that even for an expert, have an edge more.
Yet both at the Osteria del Re Gallo with its traditional cuisine and the Taverna Squarcialupi, which dares with a kitchen that has higher aspirations, we gave 4. Why then, if the raw materials were of excellent quality?
For different reasons, starting from the details that for gourmets like us, make the difference. Let’s start with the Re Gallo. Let’s skip the location and the presentation of the dishes, very simple (to be nice). I want to talk about the salad leaves, placed under the meat you see in the picture below, for example. This is faded leaves, extracted from a supermarket salad plastic bag and placed on the plate without any seasoning. (Incidentally, to season the salad on the table in addition to a local oil – we would miss it! -, there was an industrial balsamic vinegar spray!?!?! No way!). A sort of still life, in short. This is a beginner’s mistake that many restaurants and trattoria that invest in quality raw materials, do.
If the mixed salad was not enough, here we come to the cheese sticks, to be precise Parmigiano Reggiano (not a cheese from Tuscany), resting on top of the salad. Even looking at the photo, it is clear that this is the cheese that is sold in the plastic envelope, taken at the same discount supermarket of the salad, but from the cheese department.
Honestly, how much effort would have cost the restaurateur, take a nice green salad from the greengrocer (I do not say from the garden!) And a nice local gorgeous pecorino cheese?? Come on !!!! Even with regard to the food cost of the dish, let’s face it, it is certainly not the contour to affect in a decisive way but certainly a simple side dish but of excellent quality would have raised the score.
In short, as the great chef Gualtiero Marchesi used to say, it is important not to kill the good raw material and with shoddy products, you can not make the dish better, do you agree?
At the Taverna Squarcialupi instead, a fifteenth-century residence of a powerful family of the time, the situation is different. At Mauro’s place, the presentation of the dishes is pleasing to the eye, refined, inviting, like the beautiful location. The service is punctual, the kitchen is large and well equipped.
Here the chef has some ambitions, compared to the chef of the local restaurant (which is Andrea, the owner). Here he wants to make a contaminated kitchen, a kitchen that experiments in which the Pappa al Pomodoro (a tipycal Tuscan dish mainly done with Tomatoes and stale bread) is combined with cod. He wants to cook dishes that amaze. So the fillet is revisited (even completely covered) with a gratin of dried tomatoes, olives and oregano. Result? You lose the consistency and flavor of the Tuscan meat (overcooked), in favor of a dry and too salty consistency. Even the pigeon of the Taverna is overcooked and the tastes matched too present.
THEREFORE FOR THE RE GALLO, THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF CREATIVITY AND LACK OF CARE FOR DETAILS. THE TAVERNA SQUARCIALUPI INSTEAD, TRY TO EXPERIMENTING BUT THEY DO TECHNICAL MISTAKES.
Here are explained the two 4 that we gave in the episode, votes that, for the purposes of voting, have been mutually canceled. That said, for those who pass in the wonderful Castellina in Chianti, place of a truly incredible beauty and charm, stage of excellent food and wine tours (and also stage of the EROICA bike competition), I recommend you to try both restaurants and please, let me know what you think!