Interview by Andrew Purvis, The Daily Telegraph, July 30, 2013
Where Antonio would enjoy...
A typical brunch
Brac, a vegetarian cafe in Florence which doubles as a library, has a nice brunch menu with things like apple fritters, yoghurt with fresh fruit, pancakes and French toast with jams or honeys, perfect with a mid-morning coffee.
Brac Via dei Vagellai 18r, Florence (0039 0550 944 877; libreriabrac.net ). Sweet snack and a coffee about 5 euros; any three menu items on one plate, 10 euros.
In Monticchiello, a hamlet south of Pienza, where the famous pecorino cheese is made, Osteria La Porta does good, hearty local specialities such as pici (hand-rolled spaghetti) in duck sauce, and has a cellar of more than 250 Tuscan wines. In Lucca, north of Pisa, on the Mediterranean side, Buca di Sant'Antonio is good for typical Lucchese dishes such as vegetable soup with spelt – and wonderful pasta, made fresh each day. In Florence, Il Santo Bevitore, a few steps from Piazza Santo Spirito, has a lovely atmosphere and does traditional Tuscan dishes such as vegetable soups and risotto with cauliflower and quail. Close to Santo Spirito church, Trattoria La Casalinga is very good value and does all the dishes I've talked about: tripe alla Fiorentina, ribollita [cabbage soup] and baked wild mushrooms with polenta.
Osteria La Porta Via del Piano 1, Monticchiello di Pienza; (0578 755 163; osterialaporta.it ). Three courses à la carte about 35 euros.
Buca di Sant'Antonio Via della Cervia 3, Lucca; (0583 55 881, bucadisantantonio.com ). Set menu 22 euros, three courses à la carte about 40 euros.
Il Santo Bevitore Via Santo Spirito 64r/66r, Florence; (055 211 264, ilsantobevitore.com ). Three courses à la carte about 30 euros. Trattoria La Casalinga Via dei Michelozzi 9r, Florence; 055 218624; trattorialacasalinga.it. Three courses à la carte about 25 euros.
At 'Ino, you can sit on a bar stool and order just a panino and a drink. Their panini are all made to order with Tuscan ham, cheeses and pâtés. I'd have mine spread with just butter and a slice of truffle, with a glass of spumante.
'Ino Via Accademia dei Georgofili 3r/7r, Florence; (055 219 208; inofirenze.com ).
Panino and a glass of wine, about 10 euros.
Both my suggestions are in Florence. The first is Ristorante dei Frescobaldi, a few steps away from Piazza Signoria, which serves typically Tuscan food and Frescobaldi wines in an elegant setting. Start with an assortment of local salamis or a crunchy panzanella [bread and tomato] salad, say, followed by asparagus risotto, then beef tartare dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon, with a glass of Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni red. At Osteria Personale, chef Nicolo Baretti reinterprets Tuscan fish dishes: grilled anchovies with mozzarella, tomato gazpacho and basil crumble, or sea bass tartare with ricotta, pine kernels, baby spinach and Modena balsamic vinegar.
Ristorante dei Frescobaldi Via dei Magazzini 2-4r, Florence; (055 284 724; deifrescobaldi.it/en ). Three courses à la carte about 40 euros. Osteria Personale Borgo San Frediano 167r, Florence; (055 933 1341; io-osteriapersonale.it ). Four-course tasting menu 40 euros, six-course tasting menu 55 euros, three courses à la carte about 40 euros.
If you're on the coast, drive 20 miles south from Livorno to Marina di Bibbona, where La Pineta is right on the beach. It looks like a beach shack but it has a Michelin star. The sea permeates Luciano Zazzeri's fish dishes, served raw, or with a tomato sauce, or simply grilled or pan-fried. Try straccetti [strips of freshly made pasta] con le triglie [with red mullet], or cacciucco [Tuscan bouillabaisse]. In Florence, Enoteca Pinchiorri has three Michelin stars and offers a unique gastronomic experience. It's tasting menu is very fancy – black olives and seaweed madeleine, mozzarella water and soda cucumber, octopus, green beans and wasabi, and so on – but the signature dishes are things like coniglio alla cacciatora [stewed rabbit with olives, tomato and mushrooms] and sautéed red mullet with candied tomatoes and aubergine.
La Pineta Via dei Cavalleggeri Nord 27, Marina di Bibbona; (0586 600016; no website). Three courses à la carte about 65 euros.
Enoteca Pinchiorri Via Ghibellina 87, Florence; (055 242 757; enotecapinchiorri.it ). Five-course tasting menu 200 euros, nine-course tasting menu 275 euros, 20-course tasting menu 250 euros, three courses à la carte 145- 215 euros, all without wine.
*Among the 13 books he has written is Antonio Carluccio's Complete Mushroom Book: The Quiet Hunt (Quadrille, £9.99), which was published in a new edition this week.
See telegraph.co.uk/tuscany and telegraph.co.uk/florence for detailed information on how to get to Tuscany, where to stay, what to see and more restaurant recommendations from our loal expert, Lee Marshall.