If during this holiday season you wish to drive up into the Appenines that divide Tuscany from Emilia-Romagna, we suggest a little medieval town named Palazzuolo sul Senio (the Senio, the local stream, connects to the Sieve which runs through the Mugello and eventually links up with the Arno).
This Appenine area is renowned for the quality of its marrone—and the many different dishes that involve them in a starring role. (Marrone, for those who don’t know, are a type of chestnut but much sweeter and more prized than regular chestnuts). We are still in the province of Florence, but the atmosphere is "romagnola".
In the small shops facing the main street friendliness and kindness are made in Romagna, stone houses and porches, steep cobbled mule tracks that pass through the village.
We suggest you to have lunch at Locanda Senio where Ercole and Roberta, he in the dining room, she in the kitchen, have created a charmingly old-fashioned place to enjoy local cuisine by the fire. Much of what they serve is raised in their own gardens.
Ercole is also known as a master pig breeder so we can also expect to savor a great selection of salumi. Ercole brings homemade bread: white bread, homemade bread with Parmesan cheese, brown bread flour, bread with walnuts, bread spiced with anise, schiacciata with olives and rosemary.
Please try: "le Crescentine" (bread dough with ricotta cheese and eggs) with raveggiolo, "marrone" cream, tarassaco jelly, tomatoes and capers. As a first course try: ricotta gnocchi with chestnut flour and parmesan cheese.
A variety of second courses: pork with pink apples, chicken flavored with marrone beer from Marradi, goat with tarragon, lamb with tarragon and mint.
Finally for dessert, ask for the chocolate roll with marrone flour, or Torta with marrone flour and almonds.
All strictly homemade!