April 23, 2009

Edible Tuscany- Officina della Cucina Popolare


We went to the Officina della Bistecca at Dario's for my birthday lunch on Monday and enjoyed a MacDario and a Tasting Menu- which was perfect!

The Tasting menu is several courses for 20 euro and the MacDario is 10 Euro for the one plate.

As we were talking with Dario after lunch, we met another couple who had come into the Officina before we left.

They looked familiar to me, but I see a lot of people that look familiar. But eavesdropping, it seemed they were ordering some of Dario's products for " their" restaurant. I asked where their place was and they responded, "Officina della Cucina Popolare" in Colle Val d'Elsa - I had joined their facebook fan club awhile ago, as they opened in the next town over and sounded great.

Taking advantage of some days off, we hopped over for lunch the next day. I prefer long Tuscan lunches instead of dinners as we can explore the village in the daytime after and walk off lunch.

We arrived early and were seated right away. The simple restaurant is well lit and decorated nicely. We sat in the front room to benefit from the natural light outside. Of course having just met the owners they were happy to see us there.

I adore antipasti and dessert so eyed both before ordering. I ordered mixed crostini, my husband the anchovies with butter, a Tuscan classic, more often saved for home eating or a wine bar.

The anchovies were PERFECT- served with toast and fresh butter and mascarpone cheese and some salsa verde on the anchovies.

My crostini were also a wonderful mix, warm polenta with onions, toasts with the classic chicken liver and another with rabbit ragu as well as two others.

I opted for a second antipasto for my first course and was surprised by the HUGE portions.
A clay pot with melted gorgonzola cheese, made by a local producer, with a mix of cows and sheeps milk served with long lovely heart of celery stalks.

I went wild! I am not a bread-eater, but their bread was so good as was the cheese, that I used it to enjoy every last drop~

My husbands house-made fresh pasta with wild boar was one of the specials- they have game on Wednesdays. ( Lasagna on Sunday!)

I kept eating my melted cheese, but my husband had the boneless rabbit. Another perfect dish that had me wondering if he was hiding his mother in the kitchen! I hadn't had rabbit prepared like this in ages.

Having been a pastry chef, desserts are my weak point. They were kind enough to create a tasting menu of the desserts for us!

All of them were perfect!

Apple cake with calvados sauce, warm pear cooked in red wine with chocolate mousse- Coffee creme brulee

What can I say... it is such a pleasure to find young couples with such passion.... and reasonable prices. If you are staying nearby, they are also doing food to go!

I hope you get the chance to enjoy a meal here soon, but this great team!
you can also follow them on facebook!

Officina della Cucina Popolare
Via Gracco del Secco, 86
Colle di Val d'Elsa (Siena)
Tel. 0577.921796 -
E-mail: officina@cucina-popolare.com
Closed Tuesday

Located on top of the old city. Park in the free parking area and it is only a few minutes walk.


  1. OMG That meal sounds fantastic. My kind of place.

  2. Lovely photos. What beautiful dishes. I will live vicariously through you, Judy!

  3. Wow what a great place, the menu sounds good too! What a brilliant idea to have a tasting menu.

    I had pasta with Wild boar, last november in Liguria, it was out of this world :-)

  4. If it weren't for your blog, I don't think I could wait until July when I will be in Italy! But everything looks SO delicious!!!

  5. Mmmmmm - looks great. We'll have to visit the restaurant when we visit Colle next. It must be close to our favourite pottery shop - it is also in the upper part (the only part we visited, actually).

  6. I love everything Italian... I'm so glad I have found your blog!

  7. Oh - the tasting menus. Sigh. I tried to taste through cyberspace. Had a nibble but my eyes feasted. Thanks for the meal.

  8. Hello,
    We met a few years ago at the market in Florence where we were inquiring about cooking classes. You were taking a group of your students from cooking class shopping. I'm so glad to have found you have a blog.
    Great blog!
    Thank you,
    Nola @ The Bloom Girls
    Nashville, TN

  9. Happy Birth Day!

    I wish I would have known of Officina della Cucina Popolare when I lived in Regello (one hour south of Firenze). Looks like something to be recommended further!!


    Gabi @ mamaliga.

  10. Judy,
    I heard so much about your book. Are you coming to Northern California to promote it?

    We switched places, I am a Venetian leaving in the States.


  11. laura- I was just on the west coast for a month- in Feb! My mom is in Walnut Creek....let's meet next time.

  12. I wish I had know earlier. To next time then....

  13. Sounds like a wonderful addition to Colle. Makes me nostalgic for when I worked in Casole d'Elsa and shopped in Colle on market day.

  14. Ciao, bella! Am MISSING you! Love your book. Time for another post, if possible! Ciao for now. laura

  15. Just found your blog today it's wonderful. I just reading this blog nice very nice. Wow... what a great place, the menu sounds good too. I love pasta. Lovely photos. What a beautiful dishes. I'm so glad I have found your blog. thank you for sharing your post.

  16. chris Walsh2:09 PM

    We had the pleasure of Illaria and Matteo cooking my 50th birthday meal at Casa Sisti our villa close by to their restaurant. They made lovely antipasto and home made pasta followed by piglet on a spit--delicious and were superb hosts for our party. We also stopped by a few days later at their restaurant and all the reviews above are spot on--the food is authentic , home made and created with passion

    It's a shame we live so far away (in Australia) from their restaurant--we would be regulars!


    Chris Walsh