Valle Serena Restaurant Reviews; Palazzetto, Italy
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Valle Serena Restaurant, Palazzetto

Località Palazzetto, 110, Palazzetto SI, Italy
Valle Serena Restaurant Review
5 Star Rating
2 September 2014Valle Serena Restaurant
Tags: Palazzetto, Italy, Fine Dining reviewsThe Bill: £87 per head

Located in the Hotel Borgo Santo Pietro lives up to its name, with calming views over a serene valley.

Luxury is an overused word when it comes to reviewing hotels and restaurants which are amongst the very finest in the world, and you can assume everything that the word conveys when it comes to the Valle Serena – heavy napery, sparkling crystal, attentive and intuitive service.The food which we enjoyed on the night we first dine there, from the tasting menu, was something very special indeed.

Much of the produce is grown at the hotel itself, and the rest is sourced from the surrounding countryside – the kind of food where the producer and the chef work in tandem to produce exactly the raw ingredients which will produce the finest eating.

“Home grown ingredients exquisitely presented”

The first course was of sea scallops – sweet and fat, accompanied by a fresh, pale green cream of yogurt and cucumber. Delicately flavoured and presented, as was every dish, like a little work of art. No, we are not back to the bad old days of nouvelle cuisine, but some of the thoughts are there. To accompany the seafood, a glass of fresh and slightly grassy Vermentino Belguardo Mazzei 2013

Next, a poached free range Valdarno’s egg, with beetroots, raspberries and Tuscan bacon. Yes, egg and bacon, but sublimely presented, the bacon slightly crisp yet giving its full pork flavour, the egg with a deep orange yolk, speaking of a chicken who spends her days foraging for good things in the grass. The fruitiness of the young beetroot and raspberries was a revelation, and the pinkRosè Belguardo Mazzei 2013 which we drank with this course both looked and tasted perfect, with is slightly raspberry echoes.

Risotto with mushrooms of the season came next, the mushrooms having been collected by local mushroom hunters. This gave us some deeply satisfying woody flavours, an earthy contrast rooted deep in traditional Italian food culture. A glass of Chardonnay Castello di San Sano 2010 sang sweetly to the ceps and morels.

Turning to the sea, wild salmon with fennel and apple purèe, and a walnut granola arrived next. Fennel as you know is one of my favourite vegetables, and I loved the pairing with apples. Granolas seem to be popular with may chefs at the moment, and I approve, the grains and nuts make a great contrast in texture as well as in taste in this standout dish. To drink, Ansonaco del Giglio Carfagna 2012.

Possible the highlight of the meal for me was, acorn fed seared pork with, spring onion and, hay baked celeriac. A chunk perfectly cooked pork with just a little seared fat – and what is worse than pork presented with no fat – arrived on a plate decorated with borage flowers, with just a morsel of grilled onion and that delicious vegetable, celeriac, its aniseed flavour sweet and smoky. A robust glass of deeply complex Chianti Classico Riserva Cafaggio 2009 completed the main courses.

My companion cooed over the pre-dessert of lavender ice cream, peach gel and oranges. There was a time when lavender ice cream was ubiquitous, and I was glad to see its return here, its slightly strange flavour marrying beautifully with the sweet peach and orange.

Finally a simple cheese cake with locally gathered wild berries. Elegant and impeccable.

As with every good tasting menu, we rose from the table feeling that we had had precisely the right amount of food, in the right variety. We have seldom experienced a better meal, and we returned on several evenings to enjoy the fine food and lovely ambience of the Valle Serena.

A word of caution, the restaurant is closed on Mondays, so make sure you have at least one night at the hotel which isn’t a Monday!

Photos courtesy of Valle Serena Restaurant
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