I am just back from two weeks in Italy and my beloved Montalcino. A dear friend of mine invited me to lunch and suggested we head for the hills to enjoy a leisurely ‘pranzo’ at a friend’s restaurant, I Tre Rioni, in a little hillside village called Campiglia d’Orcia, about a 30 minute drive outside the village walls. It sounded like the perfect way to spend the afternoon and indeed, perfect it was from the momento Chef Stefano greeted us. I Tre Rioni, translates to ‘the three quarters’, signifying the 3 quarters of the Campigilia village. Stefano’s menu is surprisingly large for a ristorante in the country. My meal was delicious, freshly prepared and beautifully presented, topping most of the meals I have had in this region. Stefano’s skills as a chef shine through. While waiting for our antipasti, Stefano brought a small starter to keep our hunger at bay – a simple slice of fresh pecorino atop a few greens dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. Just the simple gesture of an offering while we waited for the meal to be prepared was warmly welcomed. One of my favorite antipasti is a simple beef carpaccio – which I immediately ordered when I spied it on the menu. It arrived beautifully prepared with a perfect balance of beef, arugula and parmigiano. Delicious. My friend ordered a special antipasti of fresh pears, pecorino and argula which I cannot wait to try this week at home (look for post later in the week!). It was light, fresh and the contrast of the sweet pear against the bite of the pecorino was perfect. For my main, I opted for the fresh Orate alla Griglia, fresh dorata simply grilled. Fresh fish in the mountains?? It was perfectly prepared and wonderfully fresh! Yummmmm. I cleaned that pesce to the bone – it was delicious. Freshly fried zucchini blossoms and sauteed spinach were the perfect sides. We finished off the meal with espresso and a taste of a wonderfully creamy homemade confection. The perfect way to pass the afternoon over a relaxing lunch!
So should you find yourself anywhere near this region in southern Tuscany, you must detour to visit I Tre Rioni. Interestingly, Chef Stefano’s surname is ‘Arrivati’ – so arrive you must for the delicious food and should you need a place to lay your head for the night after all the delicious food, they also have rooms for rent. I Tre Rioni Ristorante e Affittacamere Di Arrivati Stefano Via Campotondo3 Campiglia d’Orcia 53023 Siena www.itrerioni.com