Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where's the Beef?


Chianina cattle, tall white beasts originally bred in Tuscany, are the source of bistecca alla fiorentina, one of the world's best T-bone steaks.

At Peck, the amazing food store in Milan, they display fiorentina in the shop window at 55 euros a kilo, $40 a pound. Gulp!

Closeup%201.JPGAt Antica Locanda del Falco at Rivalta in the hills above Piacenza, they served a couple of two-inch-thick steaks this week as part of a festive meal for eight diners. (And yes, there were other things to eat: an appetizer course of four types of cold cuts and three sorts of marinated vegetables, two kinds of pasta, and three kinds of meat; in addition to the fiorentina, there were veal cutlets and braised pork.) Quickly seared, salted and peppered, drizzled with olive oil, the bistecca is carved tableside and served blue. The restaurant is in a medieval village, across from the castello described in the previous post, run by a family who previously operated butcher shops; they know their meat well.

We drank no less than five wines, the best being a Gutturnio Riserva from Il Poggiarello, a winery that's part of a marketing consortium called Mosaic, five of the best wineries in the Colli Piacentini. Gutturnio is a blend of two food-friendly red varieites, barbera and bonarda. Traditionally, it's often left slightly fizzy, but it's better with that serious cut of beef as a still wine.

More posts from Emilia-Romagna in the days ahead!

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