Friday, March 1, 2013
Enjoying a Slow Food Feast in San Minato and Visit to Falaschi Butcher Shop
Jan. 10, 2013 – After leaving Bolgheri the evening before, we arrived back in Florence rather late and checked into Hotel Donatello. This is a beautifully decorated hotel with ornate furniture and draperies in the rooms, but rather tense and unfriendly service. Its upside is a location that is within easy walking distance of downtown Florence, the Duomo, and the railroad station.
We awoke the next morning to our first raindrops of the trip and were grateful the rain had waited until our last day to arrive. As it turned out, it only sprinkled during the morning, and dried up in the afternoon.
The Slow Food Butcher Shop of Macelleria Sergio Falaschi
We boarded the bus and drove about 45 minutes to the ancient town of San Minato, home of the slow food movement. Our first appointment was at the famous butcher shop of Macelleria Sergio Falaschi where we saw a demonstration of how to make sausage. I never realized they used the real pig intestines as the cases of the sausage, and will now make sure to always remove them before I cook my sausages.
We were impressed with how concerned the butchers were with the source of the meat, how the animals were treated, and what they ate. The samples of salami, sausage, and prosciutto they shared were excellent, and my favorite was one that was made with fennel seeds and vin santo. I purchased some to take home and was allowed to bring it back into the country when I told US customs I had bought it in Italy. Unfortunately others in our group had their meat confiscated when they arrived – not sure why.
Wandering Around San Minato
Another ancient hill-top city, San Minato is extremely charming with many small winding streets, a few shops and restaurants, a famous church that was bombed in WWII, and a tower on the top of the hill which a magnificent view. We climbed to the top and enjoyed taking photos of the misty countryside.
Slow Food Lunch at La Colombaie Restaurant
La Colombaie is a small, casual restaurant outside the town of San Minato, and is apparently known for its slow food meals. We sat down in a private dining room upstairs where they had a table that seated 30 people. It was very nice that we could all be together for this last meal.
They served five courses with a tasty Chianti Classico and a local vermintino to wash it down. The first course was a nice soup made of winter vegetables, but the second course (my favorite) was frowned upon by many of the chefs within our group because it was fried zucchini blossoms. Though excellent, they were not in season, and philosophically, all slow food meals should only be made from local foods that are in season.
This was also a problem with the next course, which was pasta with tomato sauce. They mourned the fact that tomatoes were not in season, and therefore, the course was not authentic. The remaining three courses were average – another pasta, a shredded chicken in orange sauce, and an Italian cake for dessert. So all in all, our slow food lunch was slightly disappointing – including the fact that the ingredients were not explained to us – but the company was great, and the wine flowed freely, and we could all relax on the bus back to Florence.
Last Evening in Florence and Flight Home
That evening, I went out for a light calzone dinner with Janeen and found a new digestif which I greatly enjoyed, Fernet Branca Mint – very refreshing. Later we met up with some other members of the group in an Irish pub and celebrated with lemoncello shots. The next morning, I caught a taxi to the airport around 6:45am, and flew back to San Francisco via Zurich, while the rest of the group enjoyed one last free day in Florence and day trips to Rome and Venice.
Video of the Trip
When we all returned to San Francisco, each person sent their 5 top photographs and we put together this YouTube Video (7 minutes) highlighting our trip. Enjoy! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-cOIEqE4-I)