Winter recipes n° 1: a restaurant with a fireplace, excellent wines and a cosy chat with your girlfriends

04 february 2015

Finally it's Friday (thanks God!). You have worked all week long in front of your computer, overwhelmed by planning, budgets and calls with clients and vendors. Every evening you have collapsed in bed at 10.30 pm after putting the girls to bed.
You really need a whole evening just for you! On WhatsApp the chat with your girlfriends starts: we could go to Siena or to Florence for a drink, a sushi and, why not, a disco club night! There is not a definite program yet, everything is possible. But, suddenly, at lunch time, it begins to snow. And the weather forecast is not encouraging: snow alert all over Tuscany. Taking the car and driving somewhere is impossible. One by one, your friends give up - too cold, too much snow, we'll do it next time - and only three of us remain.
But, sometimes, changes of program may have interesting implications: to avoid the risk, you decide to walk into a restaurant located in San Quirico d’Orcia historical centre, a few steps from home. Il Vecchio Forno (Via della Piazzola, tel. 0577.897380) is a typical Tuscan restaurant that during the winter welcomes its guests with a magnificent fireplace, while, during the summer, it's possible to eat in the garden under a flowered pergola.

The cuisine is traditional Tuscan, with a touch of class and fantasy, with an extensive wine list that ranges across the region. I choose an excellent Maialino di Cinta arrosto with vegetable flan and Pecorino di Pienza fondue. To accompany it, nothing better than a Franciacorta Rosè (what can I do, in my opinion bubbles are perfect on everything, and fortunately my friends agree..). Red wine can’t miss, and we take Brunello di Montalcino Podere Canapaccia.

At the end, a glass of Muffato della Sala Antinori, one of the best Passito in Italy, produced with grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea (noble rot), which reduces the water content of the grapes. The resulting concentration of sugars and aromas gives the Muffato its special and unmistakeable flavor.
But the most important ingredient of the evening are my girlfriends, of course: nothing better than chatting, laughing (and some gossip, why not?) to cheer you up, even when outside there are zero degrees, an icy wind and it’s going to snow…