My college BFF, Joanne, was here recently and we did a lot of eating. A LOT. I am currently trying to erase the memory of her trip from my waistline, with little to no success. Most of the places we went to were old favourites, like Le Coq, Scarps and the Greedy She-cat, about which I have written at length. But there were a few lovely new finds as well, one of which was Osteria Osticcio. The restaurant is in Montalcino, a medieval Tuscan town that has been inhabited since Etruscan times (probably). During the Medieval period, the town was known for its high quality leather goods. Now it’s best known for its famous Brunello di Montalcino wine.
Three things immediately predisposed me to give Osteria Osticcio two thumbs up before we had even ordered. First, they welcomed the dog, graciously and without complaint. That doesn’t happen very often here, at least not when the seating is inside. Second, the waitress immediately brought said dog a bowl of iced water — iced water! That was much very appreciated by the Morgster since it was about a million degrees outside.
Finally, this was the view from our table.
My lunch was extraordinarily porky. The starter was raw sausage and Lardo di Cinta Senese. A couple of things before you all start yelling. I realize that the concept of raw sausage is a bit alarming but I figured they wouldn’t put it on the menu if it wasn’t safe. As it turned out, the dog ate most of it. The thing is I can never turn down Lardo. Ever. For the poor, sad uninitiated, lardo is fatback cured with various spices and it is sooo goooood. Cinta Senese is an ancient pig breed — there are depictions of them in art going back to the 1300s. The breed was nearly extinct in the 1990s but, thanks to a few enterprising farmers (and the foodies), it’s off the danger list now. BTW, the name comes from the fact that the pig has a white stripe around its chest (cinta means belt); Senese has to do with Siena, which is nearby and was the head town back in ye olde times.
Joanne had chicken liver pate, which was also very fine.
Jo had thick spaghetti with little tomatoes and big chunks of guanciale (pork jowl to its friends, which are legion) and a big bowl of chickpeas with rosemary on the side. Morgs relaxed on the floor and gave us baleful glares.
It was a lovely lunch — I highly recommend the restaurant. And mamma mia, that view!
ENOTECA OSTERIA OSTICCIO
Via Matteotti, 23 53024 Montalcino (SI)
Tel.+39 0577 848271 Fax +390577846907