Local, local, local
I understand that it is all the fashion in the US now to eat ‘local’. Here in rural Tuscany I don’t think that practice ever went away. At this time of year it is not uncommon to see older folks walking along the side of the road with bags of greens that they have cut, maybe for their rabbits to eat, but I suspect that some will end up on the human dinner table too.
And you will recall my neighbor, Ida, mushroom hunter!
So I wasn’t too surprised when Ben and I were having lunch at Menchetti to see this
They are serving bread made with grain grown by them here in our valley and stone ground here too.
I have written about Menchetti before. (Here’s link to their site if you want to go see more about them, http://www.menchetti.it/home-page.html) They serve a very reasonably priced lunch that a lot of Italian working folks enjoy. There are multiple locations, but at ours, we are probably the only non-Italians and many times the only retirees enjoying that lunch too. Judging from reviews on Trip Advisor I don’t think that is the case at some of their other outlets. But that is not the point.
The point is, that this is a well run family business that has the foresight to develop a market and expand (which we have watched in the 8 plus years that we have been here). They don’t always open a new free standing building, instead looking for other opportunities, the location inside Penny Market near the Val d’Chiana Outlets, the location in Siena. That cuts down on start up costs but expands the brand. The Cesa location where we eat, uses traditional Italian ingredients but gives them ‘just a twist’ so that it is not the same old, same old that other places serve. They are standing out in the market by doing something just a bit different. They find trends and genuinely embrace them. Growing their own grain, being an example. (It is possible and probable that they were doing that before, the consumer just didn’t know, but why not toot your own horn when you are doing a good thing.) More whole grain products ( we have seen an increase in the years we have been going there) and on and on.
Well, now that I have made this sound like a business school case study, let me just say, that while there is a lot of moaning about ‘the state of Italy’, there are well run family businesses that are meeting market needs and succeeding. Menchetti is one of them.
And now you want to see that bread
So if you are in the area, give us a shout and we’ll join you for lunch at Menchetti.