Mr. Macelleria

One of my most favorite stops on my travels was an unplanned appointment and the sign of the delicious serendipity of life!
It was a visit to the famed butchershop in Panzano, Italy- Antica Macelleria Cecchini

I was headed to Chianti to source a new product for our Casa Collezione home collection. The gentleman that I was scheduled to meet was an American expat from Berkeley who moved to Italy over thirty years ago for many of the same reasons I love Italy myself. Within minutes of meeting, we realized we knew many people in common. He was one of the founding "fathers' of the Chez Panisse movement and a good friend of Alice Water's. Alice Water's has always been my inspiration and I had the honor of interning at Alice's restaurant, Chez Panisse, and working at her lunchtime cafe, Cafe Fanny for almost two years. It was no surprise then that before we began about our business, we ended up at a restaurant to share a meal and discussing colleagues in common and the delicious food on our plate. It was to be the first of several meals and many hours at the table we spent together over the coming days.

As a special surprise, he took me to one of Alice's favorite places for a special appointment to meet with master macelleria {butcher}, Dario Checchini.

Dario's is everything one would want if calling to mind a local butcher. {besides the fact that he is drop dead gorgeous!}. His philosophy is to create no waste and use all parts of the entire animal to transform it into a delicious dish. And he will tell you so as he holds your hand firmly and looks deeply into your eyes.....then, let out a hearty laugh and offer you a glass of wine.

He sells fresh cuts and prepared dishes. The most beautiful Porchetta I have ever seen!

Dario had put out an impressive spread just for us!

He made lardo and served it with crostini slathered in extra virgin olive oil.

A freshly made finocchino fennel sausage was pulled off the rack of salumi hanging to dry and sliced into luscious pieces served citrus scented with black, briny olives.

Who knew a simple meatloaf could be so delicious?! Dario makes his own sweet red pepper marmellata which he serves as a perfect compliment to the meatloaf. Delizioso!

We drank our wine and licked the last crumbs off our plates.

Before we headed out, we were given a tour of Dario's restaurant and new "beef school", where he sits guests down at a long, communal table and blesses them with a hundred ways to entire various cuts of beef cut in different ways, mostly over the coals of an oakwood grill, just inches away from the table. When I return, I am surely going to sign up!

Be sure to visit Dario when you are in town.
Buon appetito!
copyright 2008 Alisa Barry

1 comment:

the italian dish said...

What a fun post! I can't believe you got to meet the famous Dario! I read all about him in Bill Buford's book, "Heat". I actually read it three times and laughed each time. His "internship" he did with Dario was hilarious. If you haven't read it yet, you will love it. Elaine