Our villa in Tuscany was located just 20 minutes from San Gimignano, a medieval walled city that is home to many restaurants, shops and a big attraction to tourists. Thanks to Divina Cucina (and my mom for finding her website), we had already eaten our best meal of the trip in Chianti. Who knew that later in the same day, she’d have just as good of a recommendation for dinner – one that was slightly off the beaten path and seemingly authentic?
Ristorante Dorando (website) was among the higher-end restaurants we visited on this trip, and it was interesting to experience the Italian take on fine cuisine. So many of the places we visited were trattorias or family-friendly spots, so this provided a much different experience…
Beginning with the wine. Our philosophy while traveling in Italy is that you always order the house wine. It’s usually better than anything we’d get back home anyway, and is typically dirt cheap. Here, we went off the wine list and ordered a bottle of vernaccia, a white wine associated with San Gimignano that is supposedly hard to come by in Canada.
In broken Italian and broken English, we consulted with the wine list and our server and agreed on a 2008 L’Albereta from the Il Colombaio Di Santachiara winery. And I can tell you the exact specifications of it, because for the first time in our lives, we went straight from the restaurant to a wine store to purchase a bottle. It was that good, somewhere in the vicinity of a dry Riesling and yet unique and memorable.
The food, too, was memorable at Ristorante Durando. Cari, having missed out on truffle pasta at lunch, seized the opportunity to order it for dinner. I had steak, cooked to perfection and coated with a very interesting glaze. The appetizers were very good too.
After dinner, we headed to the main piazza and visited what is called the best gelateria in Italy. Pluripremiata Gelateria has won all sorts of awards, but the unusual flavours Cari and I ordered (vernaccia for me, cinnamon for her), put us off. Maybe we’ll have to give it another shot, but it just didn’t do it for us.
Overall, between Chianti and San Gimignano we had our best day of eating of the entire trip. Thank you, Tuscany!