Olive Pigs - a hungry Italian adventure 🇮🇹

From nose to tail

Olive Pigs - a hungry Italian adventure 🇮🇹

This photo probably explains our afternoon better than I ever could.

We’d booked a tasting at the Dario Cecchini butcher and restaurant in Panzano. During the two and a half hour meat-dè-force we tried everything from beef tartare to the famous Florentine T-bone steak. All of it was expertly cooked in front of us by a chef that looked like the hipster version of William H. Macy.

There must have been over 30 of us spread out across long feasting tables. It was one of those situations where you’re expected to chat to your neighbours as you ate. No thanks, I’m British and awkward. I think everyone else was in the same boat, and most couples kept to themselves.

At least for the first couple of courses…

A giant bottle of Chianti was plonked between every couple. Between each new unique cut of beef, we all took big swigs of wine. Suddenly, the borders started lifting between the once sovereign nations of couples. We had been placed next to a lone Korean man who admitted he had been in Rome for a business meeting but had sneaked away to try this restaurant. He’d been to Tuscany in his honeymoon too and wanted to relive some of the places. It was a three hour drive to this restaurant and he faced another three hour drive back in order to catch his flight in the early evening. If you’re reading this, I hope you made it!

Over the next (four) courses, the room grew warmer and louder. The Aussies were drunk and having a great time. The Brazilians chatted with each other at a breakneck pace. I even heard a British voice loudly exclaim that our weather isn’t that bad (LIAR).

For the final course, the chef lifted the Florentine Steaks above his head as if they were an enemy he’d slain in battle and yelled a speech with furious passion. Over half the room didn’t speak Italian but we were all drunkenly swept up by his gusto. The room erupted with applause, whoops and cheers.

It’s a lesson as old as time: if you want a bunch of strangers to get along, don’t forget the food and wine.