A couple of views from our car on our way to the Chianti region:

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See our car in the mirror?

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We were starved and thought for sure we would see a place for lunch on the way, but we didn’t for what seemed like an eternity (I would guess about 45 minutes). We finally saw a sign for a restaurant, and turned immediately into a small town named Lecchi. Restaurant info below:

Ristorante Malborghetto

Lecchi in Chianti Gaiole in Chianti (Siena)

0577=746201

http://www.malborghetto.net/index.php

We sat outside since it was a beautiful day. The restaurant was right off of a bed and breakfast, and there was no one else there. We were seated and the chef, came to take our order! He was a very nice guy who spoke almost fluent English (with an awesome Italian accent of course). He suggested this wine:

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We were a bit skeptical because it was a 2007, but the chef assured us that because it’s a half bottle, it matures much faster than a full bottle. He was right—the wine was great!

We forgot to take a picture with our chef, but I found this picture on the website. He is all the wya to the right in the yellow shirt.

We forgot to take a picture with our chef, but I found this picture on the website. He is all the way to the right in the yellow shirt. His nails were trimmed short, and a little dirty...I'm not sure what that means, but I imagined he had been digging for truffles.

Appetizer:

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Starting from bottom left, clockwise: parsley quiche, bean and some sort of cheese on toasted bread, fried quail egg (so good!), pate on bread, pecorino cheese soaked in E.V.O.O., lardo covering beans on bread (this one was my personal favorite, not originally included in this sample dish, but they serve it separately and the chef offered to put it on our plate because I asked about it. Lardo is basically cured pork fat, sliced very thin.), pureed cauliflower on toasted bread (I really want to try to make this. It was delicious), roasted zuchinni and squash, and salami. In the center is a barley and bean salad, very refreshing.

Our new friend, Antonio. See close up.

Our new friend, Antonio. See close up.

close up

Get it? An ant? Named Antonio? We should really go into the naming babies business.

Ravioli stuffed with pecorino cheese, topped with creamy pear sauce.

Ravioli stuffed with pecorino cheese, topped with creamy pear sauce.We were obsessed with this delicious dish. YUMMY!!

Picci in red sauce with duck. It was good, but I realized you should really stick with having picci in Pienza, where it comes from. It's not as good elsewhere.

Picci in red sauce with duck. It was good, but I realized you should really stick with having picci in Pienza, where it comes from. It's not as good elsewhere.

Since we were starving, although by this time we were pretty stuffed, we had just a LITTLE room leftover. We ordered another serving of the ravioli with pear!! Before our check came, the chef joked with us and said “Anything else? Another order of the ravioli? Ha ha!” hahahaha!!

Our second serving of the ravioli...this time I remembered to take a picture before eating a bite of it.

Our second serving of the ravioli...this time I remembered to take a picture before eating a bite of it.

The restaurant’s dog, very obedient—she was trained not to approach tables (our waitress told us) and was very hesitant to come near us, but when we went to play with her she was very friendly!

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We left full and happy for Castagnoli, one of our chef’s suggestions. It was the most modern wine house I had ever been to.

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Built-in fireplace, visable from both sides.

Built-in fireplace, visable from both sides.

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View fromour table

View from our table

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The coolest part: the wall was patterned with sections of wine barrels.

The coolest part: the wall was patterned with sections of wine barrels.

This is the first chardonnay I've ever really liked.

A very earthy, unique wine. It was expensive in Italian standards (30 euros). After tasting it I wanted to buy a glass of it, and he ended up giving it to us for free, along with a complimentary plate of cheese and bread dipped in E.V.O.O.

This is the first chardonnay I've ever really liked.

This is the first chardonnay I've ever really liked.

He showed us their barrels in the back:

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NOM. The olive oil tasted very different than any I've had...it was very strong and tasted like...plants. I'm not sure how to describe it but it was delicious!

NOM. The olive oil tasted very different than any I've had...it was very strong and tasted like...plants. I'm not sure how to describe it but it was delicious!

For dinner, we had pizza in San G, which was unremarkable, but also gelato, which was delicious:

We're not sure what happened 2007-2008.

We're not sure what happened 2007-2008.

I still have yet to find a gelateria in Houston that compares to the ones we had in Italy.

Good night! Have sweet dreams of gelato!

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