George’s B-day, part 1
Our friend George is turning 60. Not one to let a momentous occasion like this pass unnoticed he started celebrating a week ahead of time. So we were all invited to dinner at Osteria L’Antico Borgo. (Via di Mezzo, 35, Civitella in Val di Chiana (AR) phone 0575 448 160)
We were a big, rowdy, mostly English speaking group. But that was okay because we were also the only guests in the restaurant that night. (if you are interested in who’s who, starting with Ben in the black vest and moving counter clock wise, there’s Frank, then the birthday boy in a white shirt, our friend Grace and her companion GianCarlo, Vera (Frank’s saintly wife) the lovely Jules and George and Jules’ friends who were visiting from Britain, Margaret (just peaking around) and Howard.)
For George and Jules this restaurant is in the closest town to them and they have a warm, friendly relationship with the owner, Vitto and all the staff. The food is more upscale than our neighborhood restaurant, Il Cacciatore and the menu changes according to seasons. The dishes are innovative, using fresh local produce. We started with the traditional chicken liver crostini but topped with these luscious olives.
I had an artichoke sformato with bread crisp. A sformato is a cross between a souffle and a flan. Not sweet but savory and not at all eggy but a concentration of whatever vegetable it is prepared with. Ben and Howard split a sausage risotto. Doesn’t photograph well but tasty!)
Ben had a very nice duck in a balsamic reduction.
And I had a very nice guinea fowl, stuffed with fruit.
There were desserts and coffee, and of course grappa. The bill averaged around 25 Euros a person. HOWEVER, let me qualify that amount. It was that amount because George and Jules are very good friends with Vitto and send him a lot of customers. A more realistic bill would probably be around 40 Euros a person.
It is very good food, beautiful interior and flawless service. It is also in a hill town and hard for us to get to. But always enjoyable. And if I used the flash on my camera the food would look better.