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The Best Food in Tuscany

posted Jul 20, 2011, 11:15 AM by Jen Hayes   [ updated Jul 20, 2011, 11:49 AM ]
No one can believe it is our last full day together in Italy. The week has gone by so quickly, and we have filled it with so many activities and happy memories! Our last day promises to again be a very full day, as we prepare to visit Pisa, have lunch at our favorite restaurant in Livorno, David’s, and perform two concerts in Gavinana and Pistoia.

Our time in Pisa turned out to be shorter than planned, but still gave us time to see (an of course snap several photos of) the Leaning Tower as well as to poke our heads in to the baptistery, an acoustic marvel within which sound carries long enough for a single person to sing three part harmony.

Any time lost in Pisa, however, was more time for us to spend at David’s. This restaurant, owned by a friend of a friend of William’s, is a perennial high-point of our trips to Italy. The food here is beyond amazing, and the restaurant normally serving only dinner opens its doors to us for a lunch overflowing with delicious dishes. Favorites that returning members remembered from our last visit, such as pate and a fantastically light fish mousse, were joined by new dishes of polpo (octopus) and swordfish carpaccio, salamis and prosciutto, pecorino with honey, bruschetta, shrimp - and these were only the antipasti! Dishes and dishes were brought out for us to sample, and bottles of wine and prosecco were uncorked and poured. Unwinding after a long week, we worked our way through this first course with finesse - if you could use that word to define our middle school lunch table approach:

“Mmmph, this mousse is AMAZING.”
“Wow, this is the best swordfish I’ve had in ages! I’m not a huge fan of the pate, though…”
“How can you not like the pate? Hey, I’ll pass you some swordfish for your pate,”

Dishes worked their way around the table until all were near empty. Before we could applaud ourselves on this accomplishment, however, another course emerged piping hot from the kitchen. Heaping bowls of pasta were set before us - both a rigatoni with sausage in red sauce and a light farfalle heaping with mussels, lobster, and other seafood. We could have easily filled ourselves to overflowing on this course alone, but were held back by the promise of yet another amazing course. Finally the secondi appeared, worth both the wait and the room we’d saved for it: thinly sliced steak and seared tuna seasoned just enough to make its natural flavor really stand out.

We were certain there was no way we could eat anymore. Even as individual dessert plates were brought out to the table, crowded with vanilla gelato, mint granita, and a berry torte, we protested. “Can I share with someone?” “Really, only the gelato, please,” “No WAY I can eat any more…”  Our servers turned deaf ears, however, and continued placing the loaded plates in front of us. William summed it up for all of us when a moment later he looked down at his suddenly empty plate. “Guess I was still hungry, after all!”

Another fantastic meal thanks to our hosts and David, at what Campanae Mundi will forever endorse as the best restaurant in Tuscany!