“Benvenuto a tutti!” Dario Cecchini called as we entered his small butcher shop in the tiny town of Panzano in Italy’s lush Chianti region. Dubbed the world’s best butcher, Cecchini draws travelers from around the globe to Antica Macelleria Cecchini, his longstanding meat shop and restaurant. “To beef or not to beef?” he said, waving a
T-bone steak. One of his employees rushed to meet us, offering free glasses of wine and food.
We nibbled on lardo-laden crackers and salumi and watched as Cecchini gutted, chopped, and sliced to a background of heavy metal music.
We timed our visit for lunch and were escorted upstairs to a tiny dining room and outdoor terrace. Dining at Mac Dario — Cecchini’s version of a burger joint — is in “convivio.” We sat at a long communal table, surrounded by hedges of rosemary, and ordered the half-pound burger plate.
It came in minutes: a patty of succulent ground beef, grilled over a wood fire, lightly dusted with crumbs, and accompanied with garlic and herb-roasted potatoes topped with a dollop of whipped, herb-infused lardo, crunchy garden vegetables, and warm Tuscan beans. It was sublime. Lunch around $14-$28.
ANTICA MACELLERIA CECCHINI Via XX Luglio 11, Panzano,
Italy, 011-39-055-852020, www