Tuscan cuisine with a bold touch

FOOD + WINE

Osteria Torre a Cona: Tuscan cuisine with a daring touch

Helen Farrell

May 26, 2021 – 10:45 PM

It’s a blustery day in the Florentine hills as we gather for our first press preview lunch since the pandemic rainbow of restrictions halted our culinary escapades. Protruding through the cast iron tables and chairs under the foliage established around the 18th century lemon grove on the eponymous winery, Osteria Torre a Cona is the gastronomic destination of this memorable day.

Outdoor dining at Osteria Torre a Cona

The new approach to Tuscan cuisine served at the restaurant, which opened in early May, is in a reliable quartet of hands. Maria Probst and Cristian Santandrea, the chefs with a Michelin star in their kitchen cabinets at La Tenda Rossa, now closed, adapt the culinary identity to the impeccable ethics of the estate of quiet elegance, contemporary life and blissful relaxation. An antipasti of Grilled sardines topped with sausage meat and well balanced with a reduction of vinegar on aromatic salad leaves (9 euros) delights the taste buds and challenges the state of mind: what is contemporary Tuscan cuisine in 2021? I find myself asking. Local ingredients and familiar flavors cooked as nourishing dishes comes the answer in the form of Fennel seed pici pasta served with Cinta Senese pork sauce (12 euros); the green gnocchi with aglione and spring truffle (12 euros) already tempting me to come back soon for supper. There is a nod to international visitors with seemingly less demanding offers like lemon chicken, herb puree and truffle (22 euros), while the lamb and mutton chops with agretti (monk’s beard) and artichokes (25 euros) will elicit an air of mystery, or a strange frown, among strangers who haven’t watched Masterchef in the past five years.

Accompanying the cuisine, the gracious wines of the estate; the vines crown around the centuries-old walls of the Rossi di Montelera family estate since 1935. Sipping the sparkling Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva “Badia a Corte”, Niccolò Rossi di Montelera notices that it is his favorite wine. “It’s because of the Piedmontese style; my family is from Turin, after all. An elegant red with a persistent nose and courteous tannins, the Sangiovese grapes for Riserva come from a single vineyard at an altitude of over 300 meters. Dessert is served: a decadent revival of Florentine zuccotto ice cream cake with sprinkles of ricotta, drops of dark chocolate and a swirl of fine and sweet meringue (8 euros). It is magnificent and further enhanced by one of the most fascinating Santos wines on the market: Torre a Cona Fonti e Lecceta Occhio di Pernice, a succulent dessert wine that remains simple and straightforward.

Suite at the Torre a Cona wine estate

Feeling Orpheus creeping in, the temptation to close your eyes and dream of Tuscany is not mitigated by the fact that 20 relaxing and refined rooms are a short distance away. Recently renovated, antique furniture alternates with contemporary furniture in a “home away from home” atmosphere. Instead, I push away an espresso, like a real Tuscan, and walk back down the hill to Florence, just 25 minutes away. What a lunch!

Via Torre a Cona 49, Rignano sull’Arno

Reservations required: 055 699000 / [email protected]




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