February 8, 2011

Meat Museum- The Masters of Meat

As you all know, I adore my butchers. The men and women that turn meat into meals. I was inspired, as I often am, but my soul-sister Kate in Camont, France. Her article on the red and white butcher shops reminded me of the foto shoot I just did for Dario, my master butcher, in Panzano.

recently restored facade of the Macelleria Cecchini Panzano in Chianti


Dario is famous for his wild ways and theatrical behavior. When he painted the outside of the butcher shop his signature red and white, people thought that it was another one of his attention grabbing moves.
What people don't realize, is that Dario does research constantly to preserve antique traditions in todays fast-moving world. In the 1800's the decorative style for important buildings was with stripes and geometrical designs. There are very few left  in all of Tuscany. It is rare anymore to find buildings in Chianti with this striped decoration, but as you head towards Lucca and the coast, you will see that they have preserved this decoration style. Much of Florence and Chianti was destroyed and rebuilt after the second World War and simple was the new style.

Time stops once you walk into the shop. Don't be in a rush. Accept the glass of wine that is offered to you and sit back and enjoy the show. SHOW? Isn't this a butcher shop?



inside the shop art and meat side-by-side

More than a butcher shop, you are stepping into a lesson in life. Taking time to shop, interact with fellow shoppers, learn new recipes or ways to prepare meat. At the butchers in small towns, you learn more than about meat. You meet new people and learn about the village you are in.

It is not only Dario's butcher shop that is like this. It is a way of life in Italy. It to risks vanishing away as did the decorative stripes on buildings. Italy is joining the rat race in many ways. My gift to myself is to slow down. Take time to shop. Take the time to talk. Take time to listen and learn.

It is not easy. It is a choice. It means not working all the time, which means making less money and learning to live with less.

My favorite saying is "Less is More". Eating less meat, but better quality. Buying fewer clothes but better quality. You get it!

The other Italian saying which strikes home is- " Si stava meglio quando si stava peggio" We were better off when we were worse off.  The older Italians say it all the time. When life was simpler and slower.


Take time so step back into the old ways of doing things. Make some jam. Bake bread. Take time to talk to your butcher. Your life will be richer in a way that money cannot buy!



Thanks Dario for throwing a splash of color back into Chianti!

17 comments:

  1. I love that philosophy and am happiest when we slow down and make the most of what we have rather than trying to acquire more and more.

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  2. Nothing could be more true Judy. It feels like 'home' when I read what you write and what you are making. Grazie Mille.

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  3. I so love your posts, Judy.

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  4. thanks for the feedback-love to know people are reading!!!

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  5. As you surely know, here in the US butcher shops are fast disappearing, replaced by plastic-wrap burial grounds in our supermarkets. So very, very sad. Let's hope Italy does not go that way, too...

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  6. Frank- actually there is a whole new exciting movement of young butchers. A recent book Primal Cuts came out highlighting some of them!
    it is exciting!

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  7. I visited Dario's shop in 2005, pre-blog and it is totally special. Magical.

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  8. Anonymous11:36 PM

    I recently met Dario, and watched a beef butchering demonstration at my alma matter FCI...his passion is infectious and invigorating. I swore I would hop on a plane to chianti just to drink Dario's kool-aid. I understand he is organizing a school for new, young butchers...with a tuition of "bring what you have." Seriously, does it get better than that?

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  9. Love Dario profiles and yes, I'm still have a crush on him. :)

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  10. No nifty butchers like that down here in Molfetta. Just slabs of meat and high prices. :-(

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  11. Love the redesign of Dario's! Always found butcher shops to be so elegant - all that gleaming marble!

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  12. Love the new design. I bet it will bring more customers. With his lively attitude and lovely store, who wouldn't buy meat from him.

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  13. Dario really livens the place up with his antics and great meats.

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  14. How have we lost these places in the US and Spain? You are so lucky to have this. I would move to France in a heartbeat.

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  15. Dario's meat is from Spain!!! and now in USA there is a renaissance of artisan butchers-- look around!

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  16. Anonymous6:56 PM

    It is rare anymore to find buildings in Chianti with this striped decoration, but as you head towards Lucca and the coast, you will see that they have preserved this decoration style.

    Cheap Flights to Manila

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  17. The design is more compelling now. This will surely attract visitors. I would love to visit this place. I promise to visit this establishment when I go back to Chianti.

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