Are you a meat lover? Then for no reason in the world can you miss the Antica Macelleria run by the extroverted Dario Cecchini, showman, butcher and, probably, one of the best known characters in Tuscany. It is located in Panzano in Chianti (Via XX July 11), a town of just over a thousand souls which is about 25 kilometers from our holiday villa with pool in Chianti.
A true celebrity, Cecchini has been called “the most famous butcher in the world“. The Times and the Independent consider him a butcher artist while Netflix even dedicated an episode of the sixth season of Chef’s Table to him, the famous docuseries that tells the stories behind the successful activities of great contemporary chefs and pastry chefs.
Born and raised in Panzano, he carries on a tradition spanning over 250 years with goliardia and exuberance. Thanks to his inspiration, the historic family butcher shop has turned into a small empire. In his shop, which he himself defines as a paradise for carnivores, you can buy beef and pork, which do not belong to particular breeds, raised in Catalonia, in the Pyrenees National Park, by people he trusts extremely well and with whom he has been collaborating for more than 35 years. For Cecchini, breed is not an indication of quality, if anything it all depends on the type of life he leads.
His forte? The less noble cuts. She has often reiterated his thoughts on the matter: “Most people see meat as a pyramid: the best cuts at the top, the less important ones at the bottom. In my opinion (…) they are all equally good when cooked the way right“. Cecchini is a histrionic character who has never made a secret of his passion for Dante and the Divine Comedy: “Dante is the soul of Tuscany, anyone who does not know him cannot understand our region. Dante is medicine for the soul and sometimes even a wonderful obsession“. One of his mottos is “Abandon all hope, you who enter, you are in the hands of the butcher“.
Cecchini is no longer just a butcher, but also a restaurateur. The old butcher’s shop in Panzano in Chianti is now flanked by several catering locations, each of which is dedicated to a single menu: Panzanese, for lovers of grilled meat (with a fixed menu at €30); Solociccia, where you eat everything, from nose to tail, in conviviality (with a fixed menu at €40); and Officina della Bistecca, where you can eat non-stop Florentine steak, Panzanese and rib eye (with a fixed menu at €50). Also not to be missed is the Cecchini Panini Truck, obviously with an on-board grill, 435 meters from the butcher’s shop.
Photo © Antica Macelleria Dario Cecchini