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Bastia Creti: Agriturismo Ristorante Calagrana

Phone: 075.941865

Reviewed by: popeye from MA, review #1943

When: 2006

We loved this great value restaurant and cooking school!

Directions: Located off the road between Umbertide and Cortona in the Niccone Valley

This small agritourismo and restaurant was recently opened by a group of three Italians and their wives who previously owned and operated a gourmet northern Italian restaurant in London.

In their quest for a better way of life, they located this place where the previous owners had completed the main house with 8 guest rooms to such high standards that they ran out of money and had to sell.

They sold the restaurant and their homes in London and packed off to the Niccone valley and have spent the past year dealing with mountains of red tape and weather related problems, building the restaurant from an old stone barn. Finally, they are now open for business!

We first attended a one day cooking class there where we prepared and ate a 4 course meal that included ravioli stuffed with roasted eggplant, truffles and polenta croutons, a salad of arugala, Italian bacon and chicken livers, sauteed in butter, boned chicken leg stuffed with a chicken mousse, roasted and served with a pan reduction. Also, we made a spinach timbale. Wine was included and the total cost was E60 which I thought was an excellent value as I have seen similar schools charging over E100 for a similar kind of thing. The chef speaks great English and he is accompanied by his English wife who assists in the class. It is limited to 5 people so it is a really hands on experience.

Based upon this success, we signed up for a wine paired dinner event that they have on Thursdays where they feature 3-4 premium wines that are matched to the 4 course dinner. We had pappardele with a wild hare sauce, stuffed pork roll, a mixed appetizer course of stuffed hot bites of veggies/chicken in various sauces and finally homemade cinnamon ice cream with lemoncello and coffee. Wines were all from the region and we felt we were greatly pampered. the cost was E40. I have to think that dinner with wine from the regular menu is in the E25 range.

The owners showed us pictures of their herculean efforts to open this establishment and we were treated like old friends. We were shown some of the rooms and they all have top quality furnishings and to die for baths. Rooms are as little as E85!!!

My wife and I were over the moon about this place and the owners. I really hope everyone in the area visits this place. I promise it won't disappoint.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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