There’s a recent trend of inviting guest Michelin-starred chefs for special menus in brilliant locations. Last year I enjoyed one such occasion with a memorable meal in the cloister of San Marco. This year, there are a few occasions in Florence and Tuscany to sample delicacies and get to know the cuisine of different Michelin-starred chefs from around Italy.

Dining with the Stars: Castello di Spaltenna

In the Chianti countryside, the Ristorante il Pievano at the 5-star resort Castello di Spaltenna has organized 6 star-studded evenings where their Michelin-starred executive chef Vincenzo Guarino has invited an impressive line-up of colleagues to join him in the kitchen. The dinners will be held in the courtyard, while into the fall season they’ll be located in the restaurant’s rooms decorated with attractive antiques. This could also be an opportunity to explore (or stay at) the 1000-year-old castle, small medieval borgo and monastery. For info see www.spaltenna.it

The menu for the first of these dinners
The menu for the first of these dinners

Here’s the calendar:

  • July 19: Gaetano Trovato of Il Ristorante Arnolfo (Colle Val d’Elsa)
  • August 15: Simone Fracassi of Antica Macelleria Fracassi at Castel Focognano
  • August 29: Maurizio Bardotti of Ristorante Il Colombaio (Casole d’Elsa)
  • September 18: Andrea Ribaldone of Ristorante Due Buoi ( Alessandria)
  • October 10: Nino di Costanzo of Ristorante Dani Maison ( Ischia)
  • October 27, grand closing dinner with 11 starred chefs!

Spoon: Borgo San Jacopo

Peter Brunel: Agnello infuso al fieno e camomilla
Peter Brunel: Agnello infuso al fieno e camomilla

This year the Michelin starred chef Peter Brunel, at Lungarno Collection’s Borgo San Jacopo in Florence, invites the best Italian Chefs and the most renowned wine and food journalists to astound guests with unmissable cooking challenges and exclusive menus in the second edition of Spoon. Each evening begins with a welcome aperitivo in their lounge, followed by a divine 5-course meal and followed up with the creations of pastry chef Loretta Fanella. (Click for info)

Upcoming dates:

  • August 1: Salvatore Bianco, Il Comandante (Hotel Romeo) – Naples (1 Michelin star) and Roy Caceres, Metamorfosi – Rome (1 Michelin star)
  • September 5: Lionello Cera, Osteria Cera – Lughetto Di Campagna Lupia, Venice (2 Michelin stars)
  • October 3: Marco Sacco, Il Piccolo Lago – Verbania (2 Michelin stars)
  • September 7: Andrea Aprea, Vun – Milan (1 Michelin star) and Lorenzo Cogo, El Coq – Marano Vicentino, Vicenza (1 Michelin star)

Relais et Chateaux Gourmet Festival

24 Relais & Châteaux properties and restaurants in Italy propose exchanges amongst their chefs in 2016, in some of the most beautiful resorts in the world. The meals, with menus that showcase both chef’s specialties, are usually 5 courses with aperitivo and dessert and include drinks.

Andrea Campani: Rockfish with tomato, asparagus, seaweeds and lemon mayonnaise
Andrea Campani: Rockfish with asparagus, seaweed and lemon mayonnaise (Photo: Marco Badiani)

In Tuscany, there’s an upcoming date at Il Borro, the Ferragamo-owned estate in the Valdarno: on July 26, 2016, chef Andrea Campani of Osteria del Borro welcomes Michelin-starred chef Gian Piero Vivalda from the Piedmonte region.

In Florence, Relais Santa Croce’s Fabrizio Innocenti hosts Marco Matteucci from Borgo dei Conti in the Umbrian countryside near Perugia on September 27 2016.

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Alexandra Korey

Alexandra Korey aka @arttrav on social media, is a Florence-based writer and digital consultant. Her blog, ArtTrav has been online since 2004.

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