Our final day of a very busy week began early with the usual coffee and pastry, then a nearly two hour drive through the mountains of Tuscany, past Volterra, San Gimignano and Castellini in Chianti. We arrived in Panzano in Chianti for a cooking class, tour and lunch at Antica Macelleria Cecchini. This beautiful Tuscan hill town is, of course, surrounded with olive trees and vineyards, but the town’s star is Dario Cecchini, who holds forth behind the counter of his butcher shop. His popularity is a big draw in the small town, and the dining rooms that are adjacent to the butcher shop, are usually filled with an international, as well as local, clientele.
Like any butcher shop in Tuscany, the star of the show is Chianina beef (which we regularly serve as a carpaccio and which we feature on occasional special steak nights), so we visited Cecchini’s small Chianina herd, once again marveling at their size and beauty. At the processing facility, one of their skilled butchers showed us how to break down an entire leg into sub primals.
Ricardo, the Sous Chef for the past 18 years, worked with us in the kitchen, showing us how to make their “Tuscan Butter”, a seasoned lardo spread, steak tartare, and Brasato al Midollo (a roasted beef shank). The Tuscan Butter and tartare were both taken in large bowls to the front of the shop so Dario could do the seasoning. Then it was show time, with loud rock music playing, and the shop crowded with lunch guests and patrons, Maestro Dario portioned the bisteca fiorentina 2-3 pound steaks. Always cooked rare over hot coals and only seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. Our chefs definitely learned a few techniques and came away with some new ideas, but most importantly we were introduced to large Turkish knives for chopping and mincing.
After all of that work, it was time for lunch. The eight course menu, heavy on beef, took a couple of hours, where we had the seats of honor close to the fire, so we could watch (and sweat with) the grill master. To say we were overfed, is an understatement. It was so good, we didn’t want to stop eating the Chianina, which is not heavily marbled, but has a deep, rich flavor. It was so, so good. I passed on the baked potato and cake for dessert! John remarked that we all had “meat sweats” for the next 24 hours.
We all needed a walk (or our stomachs pumped), but we waddled our way to the car for the hour-long drive to the cheese factory northeast of Florence. The cheese production is part of a coop and produce Tuscan Pecorino, fresh bread, butcher their own Chianina, have a vegetable farm, make pasta and gelato. We were thankful for the opportunity to tour the Chianina barn, the cheese production and aging facility and the butcher shop before we had to sit down and taste their cheese. There wasn’t a hungry body among us, but we took one for the team and enjoyed their cheese. Someone, who will remain nameless, even had room for gelato.
It was an overwhelming week, with many great experiences and meals. My calculation, based on most lunches and dinners is that we tasted 117 different plates at 13 different restaurants (it would have been 126/14 but we skipped dinner on the last day). We all were struck by the simplicity of the cooking, which was always about finding the best ingredients, cooking them perfectly and letting them shine.
Executive Chef/Partner John Haas summed up the trip beautifully:
“We made great relationships with great people that we expect to build on with each and every opportunity we have to use them. We grew as chefs, as individuals, and as a team. The 5 of us were left touched by the generosity, passion, and mutual respect we shared with the Italians we spent time with. It’s the start of what will lead to some amazing opportunities.”
We look forward to sharing our Italian experiences with you soon.
NEWS FROM M’TUCCI’S
Weekend Dinner Specials
Cut of the Day-Bone-in NY Strip
Pan sear Seafood - Lightly Battered Sand Dabs
The Braise- Vodka Braised Duroc Pork Belly Creamy Polenta, Grilled Asparagus, Local Gray Family Farms Oyster Mushrooms,Vodka Braising Sauce
Ravioli- Braised New Zealand Lamb/Goat Cheese Raviolis, Sautéed Artichokes, Asparagus, Tomato, Light Lemon Cream Sauce
New Brunch Menu Starts tomorrow, July 6
Beef Tortelloni: Diced Tomatoes, Beef Tips and Cheese-filled Tortelloni tossed in a Spicey Alfredo Sauce. Topped with Gorgenzola Blue Cheese and Green Onion. $19
Stephen Vincent Pinot Noir Sonoma County~Great character with cherry and raspberry notes, soft tannins with a touch of oak. 7/28
Starts with Swordfish and switches to Norwegian Cod
Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sauteéd Organic Arugula, Grilled Artichoke Hearts and a Lemon Butter Caper Sauce. Swordfish and Cod are similar, they are both very lean, mild flavor profile. Swordfish having light grayish color and smaller flakey texture and Cod having vibrant white large flakey texture. $25
Nobilo, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ~ Vibrant & refreshing w/ tropical fruit flavors and a crisp finish~ 8/32
Hand Cut Steak of the Day: 24 oz T-Bone $33
Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and a vibrant Salsa Verde
Molly Dooker "The Scooter" Merlot, South Australia ~Vibrant red Merlot with rich flavor and a soft touch of oak~ 7/25
July Live Music (Thursdays 7:00-9:00 & Fridays 8:30-10:30)
7/5: Matt Kollock
7/12: Cali Shaw
7/18: RJ Perez
7/19: Lani Nash
7/25: Oscar Butler
7/26: Nathan Fox
M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria
Big news here. We are evolving and changing. The last day of the Market & Pizzeria will be Sunday, July 7. We will be closed on Monday, July 8 for our transition to M’tucci’s Cafe & Market. Our new hours will be 8:00am - 6:00pm. We will carry the same great Italian imports, all of our house made breads, and a wide variety of imported, domestic, and house made cheeses and meats. There will be an expanded selection of coffee and pastries. We’ll still have charcuterie boards to eat in or take out. Our pizza will now be available at M’tucci’s Italian and M’tucci’s Moderno.
Stay tuned for more news next week about an exciting new venture for the Cafe & Market.
Here is a sampling of what our pastry chefs have been creating for you:
We have a new web page and menu for our catering. You can schedule an event at M’tucci’s Italian (best for smaller parties of 12 or less) or in one of two private dining rooms at M’tucci’s Moderno (capacity 75 and 35). We also cater wedding receptions, office meetings or parties, lunch meetings and off-site events for any occasion. A full array of dishes, glasses and staff is available for your event.
Click here to see our full catering menu. For more information, call Ivy at 505-350-0019.
M’tucci’s on the Radio! Tune in to 94.5FM/AM 770 KKOB Sunday, 7/7 at 7:00 to hear Partner Austin Leard talk about what’s new and the chefs trip to Italy.
M’tucci’s Italian Prix Fixe Menu for July
1st Course- Spinach, Arugula, Foccacia Croutons, Red Onion, Roasted Apple Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola
2nd Course- Sautéed Pink Shrimp, Spaghetini, Olives, Red Onions, Capers, Red Bell Pepper, Creamy House Mozzarella
3rd Course- Dacquoise-Almond Shortbread, Hazelnut Meringue, Espresso Mousse, Chocolate Ganache
1st Course- Roasted Chicken, Farro Grain, Spinach, Hearty Stock
2nd Course- Stuffed Pork Loin- Spinach, Artichoke, Mushroom, Mozzarella Stuffed Duroc Pork Loin, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Herbed Butter
3rd Course- Strawberry Torta Strati- Devil’s Food Cake, Strawberry Marshmallow, Champagne Spoom, Meringue Kisses, Strawberry Chips
Join us for our anniversary week! We will be offering a Prix Fixe every day to celebrate 6 years! Scroll down for details.
1st Course- Calabrese & Nduja Flatbread
2nd Course- Lamb Polpette, Creamy Roasted Garlic Polenta, Tomato-Mint Agrodolce
3rd Course- Truffle Bon Bon Trio- Dark Chocolate & Limoncello, Classic Bon Bon, Amaretto & Almond Rolled Truffle
6th Anniversary Celebration Dinners at M’tucci’s Italian and M’tucci’s Moderno
Saturday, July 20: Celebrate our anniversary with a very special 7 course menu paired with 7 wines. Space is limited. $125 pp, not including tax and gratuity. $25 reservation fee (applied toward dinner) required.
Celebrate 6 Years with Us all Week with a 3 course dinner paired with 3 wines!
July 22-July 28
Olive Brined Shrimp, M’tucci’s Baguette, Olive Tapenade, Dressed Greens
Porcini Ravioli, Mushroom Consommé, Marinated Zucchini, Truffle Pecorino or
Italian Style Sirloin, Colonnata Style Butter Tossed Salt Water Potatoes, Marinated Red Bell Peppers or
Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Potato-Chive Croquettes, Oyster Mushrooms, Salsa Verde
House Gelatos- Pistachio and Apricot Gelato, Champagne Biscotti
$30 Per Person
Tax & Gratuity Not Included
M’TUCCI’S MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
The winner of the June Photo Contest was Cheryl Valadez, who wins a $50 gift certificate, which is good at any M’tucci’s. The July Photo Contest is heating up, so post a photo from M’tucci’s with friends, food or beverages on your Facebook page or your Instagram feed and tag the photo #lovemtuccis. The winning photo is chosen from the three photos with the most likes. Don’t forget to edit your photos for exposure. Enter early for the best chance to win.
M’TUCCI’S AROUND TOWN
Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, Raisin Rosemary and Focaccia.
Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.
SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT & DISCOUNTS
Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.
Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.
MTUCCI’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here
ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE - BEST OF THE CITY
We would appreciate your vote and support in the newest Best of the City poll. We feel pretty strongly that we are the best in these categories: Bartender, Bloody Mary, Craft Cocktails, Happy Hour, Appetizer Menu, Brunch, Chef, Dessert, Gourmet Pizza, Pizza and Wine List. We won last year for Waitstaff and Italian Restaurant and would love to keep our record intact. Click here to vote.
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Ciao until next Friday!