Walking (and hopefully eating) in Tuscany
Taking a walking trip Volterra to Siena in late July, with overnights in San Gimignano, Colle Val d'Elsa and Monteriggione.
Would appreciate any dining recommendations; nothing too fancy but we will have showered before going out in the evening.
Are there any particular dishes that are seasonal for the region at this time of year?
Wonderful! There is a pretty new place in Colle called L'Officina della Cucina Populare run by a small group of young people who are making huge strides in sourcing local, organic products. They take great care to create a menu that reflects Tuscan culture and food tradition and turn out some really excellent stuff. I love their gnocchi as well as their faro salad, but you can't really go wrong. The atmosphere is really laid back and charming. They just got a fanstastic antique slicer that's fun to see. Really nice people, I highly reccommend it.
Edited to add: As for dishes this time of year, as I mention, look for cold faro salad as faro is a really important grain to the Siena region and is tasty. Zucchini and zucchini flowers are coming in and delicious; panzanella and pappa al pomodoro (a little early still but I've been seeing in on menus a lot lately) are great examples of how Tuscans use their day old bread and are seasonally appropriate and, of course always in season, varius salumi. Look for soppresatta if you want a very traditional Tuscan treat! Have a blast.
Thanks for the recommendation; unfortunately they were short on kitchen staff when we called so menu was very restricted. Genuine people though and what we had was both tasty and very reasonably priced.
Spotted the soppressatta in one or two shops; it truly reflected it's origins as it looked remarkably like a cross section of an actual brain (never did much biology in school though, so I may be under a misconception).
Will do a report on our two weeks eating around Tuscany when we have returned; overall very good but menus were a little on the repetive side, possibly due to the conservative nature of the Italian eating habits.
Lots of restaurants in San Gimignano but most important: DO NOT MISS the Gelateria di Piazza -- it is one of the gelato shops in the piazza with the central well -- the one that says it is the winner of an international competition, clearly well deserved. It was the best we ate anywhere -- in fact, we went there three times in two days. Just thinking about the raspberry with rosemary (very subtle) gelato makes my mouth water. If you must eat something beforehand, we enjoyed inexpensive and informal La Biscondola on Via Querecchio, near that Piazza (I think, close anyway). We were tired, hungry and I was not expecting much based on the menu and offers of German beer. We were very pleasantly surprised by good pizza, simple salads, friendly service. Good place for lunch or simple dinner, especially for kids.