Lunch In Tuscany
Unless you work the night shift, the vogue for brunch is ridiculous. Even at the most respectable establishments, standing around, uncaffeinated, smushed against strangers impatiently jostling for a position is a bad proposition. Lunch is the unsung hero of meals. Cake and pastry are the real breakfast of champions, and who would want to miss that? Lunch can be long and lazy and there is still plenty of time to see something beautiful. Plus, it leaves you with another amazing meal in the day to enjoy.
In Tuscany, driving to a small town or the country is always preferable. But a seaside lunch and a bike ride has its place in September when the days are still long and the sun is no longer blistering. The muted colors outside the city, the quality of light, exploring a town or a monument after eating as much as one can muster, is ideal.
Here are a few lovely Tuscan spots:
Strada della Vittoria, 61, 53042 Chianciano Terme, Siena - Italia
Dopo Lavoro which literally translates to “after work” was opened in 1939 by Iris and Antonio Origo. Originally built for the employees of their estate and the small town that they fostered around it, it was refurbished and reopened in 2008. It now serves traditional Tuscan dishes and everything - including the bread and pasta - is made in house.
The plates are created with local seasonal produce and their own extra virgin olive oil, much of which is grown across the street. If you have little ones it's a bonus that they can run around between courses, or just sit for the pasta and play the rest of the time. After lunch, you can take a short walk up the street for a tour of Origo’s magnificent garden which is a mix between English and 19th century Italianate gardens.
Via XX Settembre, 50, 53034 Colle di Val d'Elsa SI, Italy
This is a much fancier, 2 Michelin star, experience. They offer babysitting and dog sitting to ensure that your young and four legged loved ones are well cared for so you can leisurely enjoy your meal. They also use local, seasonal ingredients as the basis for everything, but the final product is a more delicately portioned, culinary experience than what most associate with a traditional lunch.
Trattoria Da Maria