Antica Macelleria Cecchini @ Panzano Chianti

In pursuit of the ultimate T-bone steak in Tuscany, I can honestly say we tried. But the reality is, Florentine steak is more about the mystery of Chianina, or the image of the ultimate steak that will blow your mind, and it doesn’t.

Our first stop was Antica Maccelleria, and it is hardly a butcher’s shop any longer. In fact, this is hardly Tuscan except for the fact it’s located in Tuscany in a small village named Panzano. It’s a shopping mall without the mall, selling customers a vacuous experience that has nothing to do with Tuscany.

The feeling I had this time was more like being in a supermarket counter of prepared foods, and the rest is just for show. I mean Dario Cecchini should be ashamed of what he has done, while he travels promoting his face which is everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I mean seriously Dario in the toilet you are fresco’d holding a T-bone. I could have done without that!

So, we arrive to a reception of glasses of red Chianti wine being served, and lard spread over bread as the flies’ swarm. This idea represents what was once upon a time hospitality from the communist era, the idea of sharing with the community. So, anyone can drop in for a glass of wine and a taste of their Finocchiona, a signature of this butcher. The Finocchiona, has a strange history is made with fennel, an alternative to pepper and mixed with ground pork into an oversized salumi that won’t disappoint.

I can say their Finocchiona is damn good but try to send it from the shop, and they explain it’s only possible on-line. It’s all business here and the expedition of their products is mostly under vacuum, and all centralized in a warehouse somewhere else.

But after being directed upstairs, you find bus tours of tourists being served at communal tables, and it is horrifying to say the least. We asked for T-Bone, and it wasn’t available on our menu, so they offered hamburgers, yes hamburgers.

I refused to eat a hamburger but tried my friends and it was dry to the bone. It was unfortunate because my friend has a meat restaurant in Tokyo, and he wanted to taste the real deal. Instead we find hamburgers made over a charcoal grill, and just forget it. But in the meantime, the staff were very kind, and our waiter Dimitris tried to accommodate us by providing some grilled meat. The meat looked good, cooked perfectly, but the texture was hideous and obviously from the thigh of the cow.

It was a serious disappointment to see how Dario has transformed this town into a meat Disneyland, and his staff laugh at customers, something that made me feel sad to see. I can honestly say this assessment sums it up: The Moulin Rouge Of Tuscany

Please avoid this place. I am from Florence and I am writing this in English to help people who think they are visiting some kind of authentic place. This has nothing to anymore with a macelleria and it is just a factory serving a caricature of Tuscan cuisine. The best example is the porchetta cut up in cubes and completely dry. The egomania of the owner doing his while Dante schtick and plastering his photo in everything is pathetic. It only has one redeeming quality, it is reasonably priced.