Developing traditions with fantasy
The best of Tuscan cuisine in a style of the 21st century
Even being one of the best-preserved medieval villages in Tuscany, Volpaia did not remain static in its gastronomic development. Driving up the winding roads in the Chianti hills you reach the beautiful village, where, on the Piazza, you find the Osteria Volpaia. Here, the plates promise something very different than what you find in other Osterie in Tuscany, as the introduction on the menue card announces:
"We embrace our surrounding, portraying the history of these hills and vineyards cared by farmers who provide us with the highest quality products to express the best Tuscany's cuisine has to offer. Our desire is to support artians' work by cooking fresh and local products in a creative way; pairing our dishes with local organic wines. The insatiable obsession for tasteful, simple food through a memorable occasion is how our cuisine interprest the land of Chianti, reaching new paradigms."
With the young Columbian chef Juan Camilo Quintero Merchan, a new spirit permeated Volpaia and to the gastronomic scene of the zone. When he came to Volpaia in 2014, he examined well the traditions of the area. Using skills that he acquired at the culinary institute Gato Dumas in Columbia, during the three years undergraduate degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont and in stages at renowned addresses like Arzak (Juan Mari and Elena Arzak, San Sebastian) or Osteria Francescana (Massimo Bottura, Modena); using the knowledge about traditions and products of the area and combining all that with a good portion of fantasy, he set up a menu that presents the best of Tuscan cuisine in a style of the 21st century.
Giving ingredients new textures and combining elements in a new way, Juan Camilo creates dishes that satisfy all the senses. The dishes are very artistically presented and served in nice, handmade rustic plates. They are jewels both for the eye and the palate! A good example is the starter "Ravioli of Cannellini with Saffron and Sour Cream": The typical Tuscan side dish of white cannellini beans, usually served with a generous dash of olive oil, is here transformed into a puré which is covered by a beautiful yellow pasta dough and served in a saffron sauce marbled with sour cream. Another mouthwatering example are the "Gnudi with a Finocchiona Carbonara": a staple in every Tuscan farmer's cuisine is the ribollita, a thick and rich soup of bread and many vegetables, among them black cabbage. Chef Juan Camilo takes this latter ingredient and combines it with ricotta to make the light and tasty gnudi. They were served with a carbonara of Finocchiona, the typical regional Salame with fennel seeds.
Juan Camilo's talent finds its best expression in the last course: each dessert is a true masterpiece and fully convincing. The classic "Cantucci and Vinsanto" come in form of a mousse of cantucci, a vinsanto-coffee caramel and a fior di latte ice cream. Being a perfectionist, the chef spoils its guests with many extras: amuse bouches... : amuse bouches to start off the meal, a pre-dessert and beautiful petit fours to finish up. Until now, the Village's fame came only from its high quality organic wines. Thanks to the Osteria Volpaia, the village could also become a destination for gourmets.
The cuisine of Osteria Volpaia shows that modernity does not mean forgetting the past. By studying the origins and approaching them in an inspirational way, unique plates can be created, adapting them to requirements and uses of today.
53017 Radda in Chianti (SI)