Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Stefano Puliti and Maria Abbarchini have got something big up their sleeves.

They’re the life and soul of the iconic Chianti restaurant, the Ristoro l’Antica Scuderia in Badia a Passignano, and now they’ve decided to take another step. Still staying under the shadow of the suggestive ancient Abbey.

A few meters from the Ristoro you can now hear lyrical music filling the air, songs that invite you to enjoy the Italian lifestyle. There you’ll see the entrance of a new shop, La Bottega della Scuderia.

What will you find inside? A lot of wine. Hams and salamis hanging from the ceiling. Cheeses, pickles, chickpeas, beans, honey and truffles. This is their new creation, opened a few days ago.

We went to see it and found out everything that’s special about this shop. The chef Maria Abbarchini gives us a tour, straight after she’s finished a cooking lesson with a group of people who arrived in the morning, at 9.30, before leaving for a truffle hunting excursion.

“Wine is the heart of our bottega – Maria tells us – We have more than 1.300 wines, the initial idea was to open a wine shop but I didn’t want to limit myself … this space has so much potential”.

A truly special place indeed. Filled with atmosphere, stairs, doors, corridors, stone, beams, windows overlooking the marvels of Badia a Passignano’s vineyards, a garden with multi-coloured chairs. This is Chianti in all its splendour.

“We organize wine tastings – she continues – the guys in the restaurant serve very good local food to have with the wines, from cheeses to salami. Then, as mentioned, we offer cooking classes. In a spectacular space, every inch built by Maria. Three main themes: truffles, oil, honey”.

“We’ve organized three courses – the chef explains to us – with local companies and experts: people arrive in the morning, go truffle hunting, see how the oil is made, or honey, then come back to Badia”.

“Today, for example – she says – at 9.30 am they met up with a truffle hunter and his dog … He took them to the woods, they came back with truffles, so we prepared the starter, the first and second course with truffles. Chianti-style involtini, pecorino cheese from Pienza and truffle honey, and truffle taglierini handmade by them”.

A winning idea in a splendid setting. They offer real Tuscan experiences. Outside there is an old ice cream cart, which is much more than ornamental: it’s filled with chocolate, cream, peach and yogurt ice cream. We overlook the internal courtyard which leads to the garden; lights are ready to be lit in the evening.

“Next door- Maria concludes greeting us – there’s also an old oven for bread baking, which is as good as new: as soon as we have settled here, we will start with the baking classes”.

Matteo Pucci