Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Every self-respecting restaurant has its soul in the kitchen, and Il Convento in Radda in Chianti is no exception. We’ve had a chat with the chef Irene Berretti, who is leading the game from behind the stove.

She’s from the Chianti, more precisely from San Gusmè where she took her first steps in the historic osteria “Sira and Remino”.

With 18 years of experience, Irene arrived at the Casa Chianti Classico to bring genuine Tuscan flavours to the table.

“I’ve learned something in every place I’ve worked,” she tells us, “Working in a kitchen means that refining and experience never end”.

But after so many years in the kitchen she now skilfully masters all the tricks of the trade, as one well can see while observing her preparing the guinea-fowl with which she’ll make tagliatelle with knife-cut white ragout.

Or while preparing the pici, rigorously hand-made together with Paola Valenti: “We make a great couple, and we’re good friends. This is part of the reason why I accepted this assignment, because I enjoy working side by side with with Paola!”.

And it’s indeed Paola who is cooking one of the restaurant’s signature dishes for us, the legendary Pici del Convento. Cherry tomatoes confit, thyme, almonds and chopped pecorino with a few olive; we guarantee they are excellent.

And there are many more tasty dishes that Irene will be preparing during the season, such as stuffed rabbit or Maremma-style tortelli with potato filling and a sauce of caciocavallo cheese, cherry tomatoes and minced mint.

There will also be space for desserts, which are a personal passion of the chef “pastry is my great love in the kitchen” she reveals.

Furthermore, the collaboration with Nicola Bochicchio of the “Biosteria Sbarbacipolla” will certainly ensure even more quality; since the start of new management, he’s been working backstage with the philosophy that has always characterised Il Convento bistro: sustainability, local ingredients, craftsmanship and seasonality of products and recipes.

Emanuele Grazzini