Are Tuscan Chefs That Good? Find Out This Week


Antonio Guida, straight out of Maremma.Photo courtesy Tuscany's Maremma

On the list of people we want to see destroyed, the recently returned Tuscan tourist ranks high. Everyone has met this person. Nothing is quite the same as it is in Italy; “the pasta we have here just doesn’t compare…” “the ingredients are handled with such simplicity…” and blah blah blah. Meanwhile, they have the same flour, olive oil, and wooden spoons in both places, so what’s the big deal? We aim to find out this week, when “Five Days to Taste Tuscany’s Maremma” hits New York.

Five of the region’s top chefs are in town and cooking special Maremman menus at five of the city’s top Italian restaurants: Del Posto, Le Cirque, San Domenico, Osteria Del Circo, and, of course, Maremma. Does Tuscany’s “Wild West” really differ that much from the rest of Tuscany? And are the Tuscan tourists really right when they weep over the genius of the native cookery? We’re torn between wanting to believe them (and thus being assured a perception-altering, transcendent meal) and hoping they’re wrong (so we can smack them down the next time they preen themselves over their gastronautic adventures). Either way we win, so here on Grub Street we are giving Five Days to Taste Tuscany’s Maremma the thumb’s up.

Meanwhile, here are the menus being served this week at Le Cirque and Osteria del Circo:

Le Cirque
$110 (includes wine pairings)

Crema di porri e patate con uovo di quaglia e tegoline al parmigiano
Cream of leek and potato soup, quail egg and Parmesan tuile

Ombrichelli con ragout di piccione e zenzero
Traditional Maremma pasta with squab and ginger ragout

Guancia di manzo brasata di manzo con purè di porri e uvetta
Braised beef cheeks with purée of leeks and raisins

Emulsione di arancio e olio extravergine di oliva con gelato di latte
di capra e falso pepe del Perú
Fior di latte gelato with Peruvian pepper, orange and olive-oil emulsion

Osteria Del Circo Maremma
$80 (includes wine pairings)

Antipasto
Insalatina di gamberi, puntarelle salsa di acciughe e capperi e uovo in camicia

Appetizer
Shrimp salad with puntarelle, caper-anchovy sauce, egg "in camicia'

Primo Piatto
Ravioli di cacciucco con crema d'aglio e salvia fritta

First Course
Ravioli stuffed with "cacciuco style farce" garlic sage cream

Secondo Piatto
Seppie nere con filetti di triglie alla livornese

Second Course
Squid and its ink with red mullet fillets livornese style

Dessert
Tortino al cioccolato bianco con salsa di arance

Dessert
White-chocolate fondant with orange sauce

Five Days to Taste Tuscany’s Maremma [Maremma Wine & Food]