Chianti Classico wine route, part two

Chianti Classico wine route, part twoIn the first part of this guide to the Chianti Classico sub region, we focused on the best winemakers in the area. This week, we’re going to look at Chianti Classico’s osterie and agriturismi – and in case you’re wondering, an osteria is, very simply, a place selling wine and local food. Operating side by side with the local vineyards, they offer an authentic regional culinary experience and an opportunity for a unique kind of rural getaway. In short, they’re a crucial part of your Chianti Classico wine trail. Here are five of the best:

Osteria di Starda
Starda is a mediaeval hamlet deep in the mountains outside Gaiole, home to the Fattoria Castello di Starda vineyard. However, the real highlight is the adjoining osteria, which serves up traditional Tuscan cuisine in beautifully restored rustic surroundings. Among their special dishes is the ‘peposo’, a stew of meat cooked with Chianti wine and pepper. It’s recommended that you book before arrival to avoid disappointment, as it’s popular with local families and travellers alike.

Osteria il Papavero
Another osteria in the Gaiole area, this eatery is located in the nearby frazione of Barbischio. A relaxed atmosphere and superb food make dining here an absolute pleasure, and it’s easy to spend hours savouring each course. Florentine beefsteak dipped in Chianti is one speciality you won’t want to miss, but save room for the impressive selection of pastry desserts. Once again, reservations are advised.

A Casa Mia
Almost the only thing to be found in the tiny village of Montefiridolfi, A Casa Mia feels truly off the beaten track. Lively and endearing hosts, a cosy setting of only sixteen tables and big portions all contribute to this osteria’s warm, unpretentious atmosphere, and the food itself is a delightful selection of traditional Tuscan cuisine. The care put into everything on the menu is obvious; try the sampler for a bit of everything, accompanied by several glasses of their delicious red wine.

Fattoria di Rignana
This agriturismo is certainly on the isolated side, tucked away in the hills outside Greve and accessible via a 4km dirt road, but it’s absolutely worth the trip. The estate is also the site of the owner’s vineyard, so expect good wine, good company and excellent service. The highlight is perhaps the swimming pool, surrounded by olive trees and providing an unforgettable view of the landscape below.

Podere Castellare
This farmhouse near Florence is close enough to make trips into the city viable, but still far enough away to feel completely away from it all. There’s a great selection of amenities, from a tennis court and football pitch to the wellness centre and swimming pool, but best of all is the fantastic food served up by the restaurant. It’s also perfect for those bringing pets, with long country roads and wide-open fields ideal for dog walks, and the staff are extremely helpful.

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