The sun was shining this past Saturday on the picturesque village of Panzano-in-Chianti, as the Umbra Institute’s STFS 330: Sustainability and Food Production in Italy class, accompanied by Professor Elisa Ascione, enjoyed a stroll through the countryside and an astonishing twelve-course meal at Macelleria Cecchini, Dario Cecchini’s world-renowned butcher shop!
The day began with a hike through Chianti’s storied vineyards, throughout which Professor Ascione described the fascinating history of the region and its people.
After working up quite the appetite, the class entered Macelleria Cecchini to the sounds of Black Sabbath and the smell of freshly-baked bread. There they were met by the inimitable Dario Cecchini himself. A fourth-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 business, 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 Sustainability class experienced this “waste nothing” philosophy in action as they dug into a meal Cecchini calls “La Vacca Interna” – “The Whole Cow,” a carnivorous extravaganza featuring 12 cuts of beef prepared in different ways, and finished with cake, coffee, and a question from Dario: “To beef or not to beef?”