May 24, 2008

Tuscan Treasures- Da Delfina

blue skies- fabulous view from the outdoor dining terrace of Defina

Finding myself with a free day and a rental car... there was no doubt in my mind,
that means one thing.


For my husband, who dove a cab for 17 years,
that is not really his idea of fun, but to eat at Delfina...
even he will suffer through my driving.

I think I am a good driver, but compared to him, NOT.
He gets carsick when I drive.
I think he is just not used to sitting in the passenger seat.

Without too many problems, we arrived at Da Delfina.

It is exactly what Florentines love about a place to dine.
Simple traditional food, prepared perfectly
in a divine location

that is almost impossible to get to.

Signage in Italy is really bad on the roads,
so we did some correct guessing
and ended up coming up the back side of the village
and right into the parking lot.

What is a short distance always take twice the amount of time.
Getting out of Florence is at least 20 minutes, so we arrived after the official 1pm lunch time.
But owner, Oste, Carlo Cioni is always welcoming.

He is the perfect host.
His mother Delfina, is almost 100 years old now
and due to failing sight, she doesn't come to the restaurant anymore.

My first memories of her in her white working labcoat style cooking jacket,
sitting on the wall shelling peas.
Long white hair, tucked into a bun on the back of her head.

She was the chef at the hunting lodge in Artimino,
which them led to her opening her own place.

Carlo has taken it all even a little farther.
He makes his own Balsamic vinegar and is an expert in all the wild edible plants.

But he carries on the culinary tradition passed on by generations.
Here is a taste of what we had

welcome croquettes with spumante

we chose two appetizers instead of pasta, this is the lingua in dolce forte,

tongue in a renaissance sauce

Terrina di coniglio
Rabbit pate with olive paste on toast points

Real Ribollita, Carlo's pride and joy
reheated in an iron skillet without oil , it comes out like a fabulous vegetarian hash.

Capretto, roasted kid- goat with stewed fennel

zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheeses ad baked
Green leaves are fried Malva

fried zucchini blossoms

perfect Creme Brulee

Torta Mantovana with warm pastry cream on top

Carlo is passionate about everything
here he shows me
the writing on the wall

When I asked about the history of the ribollita with the "crust"
he explained that in the countryside where his family has lived for 200 years
Oil was for the rich, so in reheating the leftovers, without oil,
the ribollita forms a crust.

The way it should be done.

Trust him!

I do.

da "Delfina"
Via della Chiesa, 1

If you are coming from Florence allow 45 minutes for the half hour drive!
In nice weather I suggest coming early visit the nearby Villa Medicea
and after you can also walk off your lunch.


  1. no pinifarini chairs like your lunch at the Eiffel tower... but not shabby!

  2. janie4:12 PM

    Looks fabulous-thank you for sharing!

  3. I wonder how much weight I can gain vicariously? I just love tagging along for the ride!

  4. wow so beautiful! I cant wait to go!!

  5. Oh wow! I wonder how soon I can get a flight?

  6. I've never seen ribollita that way before - it sounds delicious, must try it.

  7. Are you near Sienna?? When we come this summer we would love to take a cooking class!!

  8. Better late than never Judy! Just came across this post of yours from a few years ago! We so love Da Delfina! The first time we went in '07 was in the middle of a rain storm and somehow coming in the back way too, we stumbled over it! Barbara Fairchild had talked about the resto. in B. App. and so we were dying to was, shall I say fantastic!!! Went back a little over a year later. What a wonderful host Carlo is, so warm, so welcoming...we did not go back last spring and both of us really regret that! Next time!