Ristorante "Il Colombaio", Casole d'Elsa, Tuscany, Italy

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.

Casole d'Elsa Coat of Arms

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.

Cinta Senese

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.

Chianina

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.

6 comments

  1. Suggestion: It would be really interesting to include the price in restaurants review.

    I really like the review and the photos; good job!

    1. Hi Lydia, and welcome! Thank you for your encouraging words. I am hesitant to include price information on restaurant reviews as prices may change any time and the reader may get out dayed information. In addition, the prices of various dishes differ and this is also very important in talking about pricing. I will answer your query though, as it is – I hope – going to be read only in conjunction with the post and your comment. A first and second dish combination will average 30 – 50 Euros. But you could get the set menus that start from 50 Euros and include also desert. The set menus do not include any drinks. The wines are priced extremely well for the connoiseur. I would go to “Il Colombaio” even if they only served bread and pecorino, just to have something to accompany the fantastic wines that they offer at prices that sound incredible.

  2. Α, πριν λίγες μέρες γνώρισα από την τιβι την αυτόχθονη φυλή Cinta Senese που τρέφεται με τα χόρτα και βελανίδια της περιοχής της Τοσκάνης. Θυμήθηκα τα κατσικάκια Σαμοθράκης που τρεφόταν με τα αρωματικά βότανα του βουνού και κατέβαιναν να πιουν λίγο θαλασσινό νερό. Πηγαίναμε με τον παππού και τη γιαγιά στα λουτρά της περιοχής, λεκούμι και άρωμα σας λέω.
    Ο δε υπεύθυνος της φάρμας στην Τοσκάνη έλεγε ότι παίζει ρόλο και ο τρόπος θανάτωσης για να μην απελευθερώνονται στρεσογόνες ουσίες που έχουν σαν αποτέλεσμα την κακή ποιότητα του κρέατος.
    Πολέντα με μελάνι σουπιάς, ενδιαφέρον ακούγεται. Να θυμίσω ότι η πολέντα έχει βάση το καλαμποκάλευρο και η ελληνική(;) του έκδοση είναι το κατσαμάκι και η μαμαλίγκα. Τώρα που το σκέφτομαι ίσως πρέπει να τιμήσουμε και να δώσουμε ένα ελληνικό όνομα σε αυτό το έδεσμα που έθρεψε την ελληνική ύπαιθρο σε περιόδους μεγάλης φτώχιας.
    Καλό σαββατοκύριακο!

    1. Καλως τηνα την Θρακιωτισσα!
      Σκετο αρωμα ηταν και το προσιουτο απο το γουρουνακι της Τοσκανας.
      Αν εξαιρεσεις καποιους μεμονωμενους παραγωγους, στην Ελλαδα τα γουρουνακια ειναι στο τσουβαλι, δεν φαινεται να υπαρχει καποια κουλτουρα εκτροφης συγκεκριμενης ρατσας με τα ιδιαιτερα χαρακτηριστικα της. Και βεβαια και τα παραγομενα προιοντα ειναι απροσωπα με πρωτοκαθεδρευοντα τα “λουκανικα”. Εχομε δρομο πολυ μπροστα μας, ισως και μονο για να γυρισουμε πισω, σε αυτα που κανανε οι κατοικοι της γεωγραφικης αυτης περιοσης καποιους αιωνες πριν, αλλα και για να μεταφερουμε στην Ελλαδα τεχνικες παραγωγης προιοντων απο γειτονικες χωρες.
      Οσο για την πολεντα, και στην Ρουμανια οπου κατοικοεδρευω ειναι ονομαστη ως μαμαλιγκα και συνοδευει τα παντα.
      Μηπως εχετε να προτεινετε καποια ονομασια; Και να γινετε και νονα; Αναμενω.

  3. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. Explanatory food reviews are not found these days so your work is highly appreciated.

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