One hot evening in August 2011 I found myself in the garden of the restaurant “Il Colombaio” in the outskirts of the beautiful Tuscan village of Casole d’Elsa.
The restaurant came highly recommended by a friend who visits the village almost every year.
The restaurant is also listed in the Michelin Red Guide and has one star.
I started with a selection of salumi from a producer in the area.
It was divine.
I particularly liked the locally produced Prosciutto di Cinta Senese, which according to “Barilla” owes its sweet, slightly gamey flavor, oily fat and aroma to the heritage Italian breed of pig called “Cinta Senese” used to make the prosciutto.
Another first dish was based on polenta, with and without cuttlefish ink, and a vegetable mousse. Very light and tasty.
My main dish choice was a tartare from the famous “chainina” cattle breed.
The meat was served almost undressed. There was a touch of olive oil,oregano, some salt crystals, and a few peppercorns. The sauces were more decorative as they were extremely subtle.
It was the first time I had tartare almost undressed. And it was worth it. The meat was juicy and sweet, after the first couple of bites I made subconsciously the switch from main dish to desert. What an experience!
Other main dishes were pork roast and pigeon breast, caramelized in a wine sauce.
The wine was a Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico 2001, priced extremely reasonably. The same comment applies to the whole of the wine list, which is a steal. Some of the best Tuscan wines, offered at prices that amaze me. Let alone that you cannot find them in the wine shop.
Overall, “Il Colombaio” is a restaurant I enjoyed and want to visit again. Both for its food, but also because of its wine list.