The sun was shining this Friday on the picturesque village of Panzano-in-Chianti, as four Umbra classes, SOIT 361: Not Just a Meal, FSIT 340 Mangiamo, HLNT 321: Italy and the Mediterranean Diet, and STFS 330: Sustainability, led by Professors Elisa Ascione and Zach Nowak, enjoyed a stroll through the countryside, a visit to Dario Cecchini’s butcher shop, and an astonishing seven-course meal!
The day began with a hike through Chianti’s world-famous vineyards, throughout which Professors Ascione and Nowak expounded on the region’s history and its people.
After working up quite the appetite, the class returned to the smell of red wine, and tastes of appetizers with olive oil and fresh bread of Macelleria Cecchini where they were met by the inimitable Dario Cecchini himself. An eighth-generation butcher, Dario’s family has had its shop in the same building for over 200 years.
Recently, Dario has taken it upon himself to bring more sustainable practices to his butcher shop, such as raising his cows in their natural habitat in Spain and serving his customers all cuts of meat – not just the “choice” ones.
The whole group experienced this practice in action as they dug into a meal Cecchini calls “La Vacca Interna” – “The Whole Cow” a seven-course carnivorous extravaganza featuring 7 cuts of meat prepared in different ways and finished with cake, coffee and a question from Dario: “to beef or not to beef?” or “to study abroad or not to study abroad?”