Saturday, July 19, 2008

La Sosta di Pio VII, Barberino, Val d'Elsa

An osteria in Tuscany
Recommended by our hosts at La Torre di Ponzano, the osteria La Sosta di Pio VII, turned out to be a great place for local, inexpensive and rustic cuisine. It is located 3km north of Poggibonsi, and maybe a 1/2 km downhill tumble west from La Torre di Ponzano, along the road that cruises through Val d'Elsa, which parallels the superstrada connecting Firenze and Siena. It's just inside the western tip of Chianti Classico DOCG region. We so enjoyed this meal that we attempted a return visit later during our stay only to find the place closed due to driveway and parking improvements. Inside the main dining room you can see a trough along the wall and short walled stalls that once separated animals in this former manger. La Sosta is run by a family (a common thread to our experience). The husband runs the front of the house and sources much of the product; the wife is the chef; the son waits tables. I had many questions for the husband about the beefsteak fiorentia. With his little English he graciously explained as much as he could regarding the aging or lack of aging the beef and it's origins. According to him, the beef he uses is bred in the Limousin region in France, then transported and raised in Tuscany. In the end, I ordered boar. The beefsteak is meant for more than one person. It would have been too much for me.

The dining room of La Sosta di Pio VII

Happy to be dining in Tuscany.
This was a very interesting dish of cucumber warmed with a local, salty cheese and garnished with chives. We don't often think of eating cucumber warm like this, but it was quite good.
I ordered this pate. It was coarse, like meatloaf really, and spiked with white truffles. Very good.
This is homemade pasta with basil, tomatoes and local cheese.
This was a generous side dish of sliced tiny zucchini with herbs and shallots. Here is the "wild" boar. All the cinghiale is really far raised. It has tremendous flavor, but is a little tough. Roasted new potatoes.
Not a riserva, but yummy.
An apple "cake"- very good.