Gourmet Stop at Osteria Perillà

17 april 2015

Here in the Val d’Orcia, the best places are never the easiest to find: be wary of easily visible restaurants in main squares because they almost always mean mediocre tourist menus. The best places are those that are a little hidden and a little secret that you might have to park your car and scramble up narrow medieval streets, get lost on country back roads, or fight with your navigator to get to. Basically, you have to earn it, but it is most definitely worth it.

One of my favourite restaurants is in Rocca d’Orcia, a tiny medieval town that was practically abandoned for decades except for a few older folk and people who own summer homes there. Over the last few years, it has become the subject of a passionate and patient plan to recover and relaunch by an illuminated businessman who is trying to bring it back to life and put it on the paths of the wisest travellers.

After falling in love with the Val d’Orcia and creating a biodynamic farm (www.podereforte.com), Pasquale Forte, from the microelectronic world, decided to invest in Rocca d’Orcia. First he started a project to restore the entire town, then he created Osteria Perillà (www.osteriaperilla.it), a top restaurant based on revisited and updated local cuisine.

I often go there: I adore the contrast of the designer tables and chairs and the mighty medieval beams. I love sitting there with a glass of Forte’s bubbly, made in the Val d’Orcia, and I adore the elegant but absolutely relaxed atmosphere. The food is delicious, also thanks to the best and strictly local ingredients, for the most part from the very same Podere Forte (which, in addition to producing internationally famous wines such as Petrucci and Guardiavigna, boasts a production of organic olive oil and honey, flour from selected ancient grains, herbs, as well as a ranch for Cinta Senese pork and Chianina beef).
Chef Michele Ricci, with consultant and supervision of super-starred chef Enrico Bartolini, offers a menu that starts from traditional Val d’Orcia recipes enriched by creative flair and talent: for example pici (a sort of hand-rolled thick spaghetti) with kale and prawns, Podere Forte capon with pâté and tomato confit or the delicious roasted apple with honey ice-cream.
If you come to Val d’Orcia, you can't miss a dinner at Perillà!