Just like people, restaurants have “good days” and “bad days.” The night we went to Trattoria il Pozzo in Sant’Angelo in Colle (Montalcino), it was one of those off-the-charts good days (and not every meal we had in Italy was worth writing home about, believe me). I’ve been going there since 1989 when I first began to “frequent” Montalcino (the fons origo of my passion for Italian wine). Paola (in the kitchen) and Franca (front of the house) Binarelli have owned and run Trattoria il Pozzo since 2001 and honestly, the food there has never been better. It was just one of those magical culinary nights, when everything came together just perfectly. I’ll let Tracie P’s superb photos do the talking…
Salt-less bread crostini topped with liver and spleen (the chestnut-colored spread, classic Tuscan), chopped mushrooms, and tomato (not so traditional but now part of the pan-Italian culinary lexicon).
Salt-less bread soup, drizzled (rigorously) with extra-virgin olive oil by Il Poggione (more on Il Poggione later).
Pici (long, hand-rolled noodles) with sausage, mushroom, and tomato (this was UNBELIEVABLY good).
Pici with wild boar ragù (the boar meat was so tender and flavorful and the combination of textures and flavors was sublime).
We had to sneak a peak in the kitchen since they were still rolling out the pici that evening.
One of the sine qua non elements of the bistecca fiorentina is that it must be charred on top — to heat the meat on the bone without cooking it through.
Need I say more? To look at the meat you’d think it was over cooked. But the secret is that the beast is slaughtered young. Older than a calf but still relatively young and so the meat has a pink rather than blood-red color.
Fried artichokes. Franca told me that Italian celebrity chef Gianfranco Vissani once complained that they had served these with lemon wedges. So no more lemon wedges!
The chicory was at once bitter like Tuscan dirt and sweet like Tuscan heaven.
The 2004 Brunello di Montalcino by the dearly departed Gianni Brunelli, one of the great Tuscan restaurateurs of our lifetime. Beautiful acidity, gorgeous fruit, and man, the combination of the red fruit flavors of the wine and its acidity against the fat and flesh of the steak was better than… well, actually, it wasn’t better than… it was our honeymoon after all! ;-)
Ristorante Il Pozzo
53024 Montalcino (SI) – Piazza Del Pozzo, 2
tel: 0577 844015
You shall learn how salt is the taste/of another man’s bread… Cacciaguida to Dante, Paradiso 17, 58-9.
i am SO gonna post about those pici! and that meat. wow…
Ribollita! I haven’t had good ribollita in a long time. That one looks fantastic. Not sure there is any place in San Antonio to get any. Your blog is great.
Wild Boar Ragù is delicious. The pig may be a magical animal according to Homer Simpson, but wild boar is by far more magical.
@Tracie P I would LOVE to rewind to our wedding and trip but am so excited about our new place and life together! :-) So much to look FORWARD to… so excited…
@whitericebryce it’s funny: down in Sant’Angelo they don’t call it Ribollita, even though it is virtually the exact same thing (although in my experience, they don’t cook it “twice,” the way Ribollita is traditionally made). They call it simply zuppa di pane (the ingredients are the same: chard, white beans, Savoy cabbage etc.). I wonder if Andrew at Il Sogno makes a Ribollita: we haven’t been since it first opened.
@Giovanni in Sant’Angelo, in the fall during harvest, it’s hard to avoid hitting boar on the road! The best boar I’ve ever had has always been road kill (seriously).
The food photos are superb and the wedding photos are gorgeous. What a handsome couple you two make.
(I spotted the good old Union Jack in the background).
Gianni was a lovely man. He’s wines show his passion I think although clearly pale in comparison to your honeymoon joy. Beautiful wedding shots btw
Was just researching this one. Thanks for the confirmation
We were there in October 2013, excellent experience, Tortellini with ricotta, spinach and salvia, in butter, and Fegatelli, tuscan specialty, pieces of veal liver, seasoned with mix of herbs and pepper, rolled in diaphragm and grilled. Local Sangiovese was also very good. Highly recommended.