We gathered at La Cantinetta di Rignana for a lunch of typical Tuscan foods. Our group sat at a long table on the terrace and ate family-style.
This was the view from my seat:
Our first course was crostini misti--slices of toasted bread with various toppings.
Below, clockwise from top: Burratina di bufala al tartufo fresco (soft buffalo cheese and shaved fresh truffle); lardo (think "cold cut of pork fat"--no meat really, just the fat!); porcini mushrooms; bruschetta; and Toscano classico (chicken liver paste). I can't stay I really enjoyed any of these except the bruschetta, but I did try them all.
Our second course was tagliatelle (fresh handmade pasta) with tomatoes and Pecorino di Fossa (a sheep's cheese aged in caves). This was, without question, the best pasta I have ever put in my mouth. I could not help eating every last bite, even though I wanted to save room for what was coming next.
Finally, we enjoyed tutti i tipi di carne alla brace--a platter of grilled meats. We each got to try wild boar sausage, spareribs, guinea fowl and chicken; all were amazing. This was also served with roast potatoes and a salad.
And of course we got to try two more local wines with lunch, a Chianti Classico and a Chianti Classico Riserva.
After we finished eating, we had some time to wander through the vineyard before leaving.
An interesting tidbit we learned: According to tradition, rosebushes are planted at the ends of vine rows not just for show, but because roses are susceptible to some of the same diseases that afflict grape vines. The roses serve as an early warning for mildew that, if left untreated, will ruin the grapes.
Here's a view of the restaurant and terrace as seen from the vineyards below:
September sunshine, amazing food, grapes on the vine, and my handsome husband--could a day be more ideal?