you’re in Tuscany, make time to visit the small town of Panzano, about a 1.5 hour
drive south of Florence. As towns go, it’s a small Italian town like many
others. Why, then, would you go? For the
butcher, of course! Yes. The big tourist attraction in this little town is – the butcher.
Dario Cecchini's macelleria, or butcher shop, stands in the same site as
his family’s shop that was destroyed during WWII. In his shop, you can buy
unusual cuts of quality meat and you can also be educated and entertained because, not only
is Dario an excellent and creative butcher and a cook, but he’s also a one-man
show. From his “stage” behind the counter Dario entertains his audience with smiles, conversation, information, loud friendly bantering…and he sings too.
Dario has come from a long line of butchers in Panzano
- 600 years long. Some say Dante Aligheri
and Leonardo da Vinci both bought meat from the Cecchini butchers. Dario, himself, has been a butcher for 38 years.
Besides his personality, Dario’s specialty is quality cuts
of meat and prepared dishes. A favorite of visitors is his seasoned lard pig’s
head. That's right - lard! For tourists, a little dab of the lard spread on a crust of
bread is heaven.
Late afternoon Dario's energy is at its height and the crowd thickens. Out come the appetizers and wine and the fun begins. Still hungry? Hopefully, you've made a reservation at his restaurant above the shop, Officina Della Bistecca, where the delighting of your tastebuds will continue.
An assistant prepares the goodies.
Dario and his wife, Kim, treat their customers like family and do what Italian families do - share food and wine and then, enjoy the pleasure of their company.
Ya gotta check out Dario's site, especially the videos!