In the silence of the Tuscan hills, nestled among the cobbled streets of the medieval town of Colle di Val d’Elsa, there is a small jewel that overlooks a breathtaking view: the Arnolfo Ristorante.
Probably inspired by Arnolfo di Cambio, a sculptor, architect and artist who lived in Colle di Val d’Elsa during the thirteenth century, Arnolfo Ristorante also has at the basis of all its philosophy an impeccable search for “architectural” perfection of the mise en plus of every single dish.
But let’s go in order: from a private house of the seventeenth century of four magnificent levels, subsequently restored, the official seat of the Arnolfo Ristorante was born in 1994. The splendid terrace overlooks the green hills of Tuscany, like the main room, very spacious and bright, a deep breath made with the eyes. The large windows in the great room offer panoramic images such as to constitute an added value, almost a gift to diners who decide to spend their time between lunch or dinner. A large library with crystals and books has the purpose of putting the guest at ease and preparing him for the journey into the culinary philosophy of the Arnolfo Ristorante.
The Cicerone of this trip is the Chef Patron Gaetano Trovato: born in Sicily and at the age of six he moved to Colle di Val D’Elsa. He began his journey by learning the art of making bread in a bakery, an activity that he has managed to bring to Arnolfo Restaurant with leavened products to which he pays particular attention to, that he and his brigade continue to bake every day at the restaurant’s kitchen. He traveled around Italy and abroad, until he found himself in France where he met and worked with Chef Roger Vergè and Gaston Lenotre. He then returned to Italy and met Angelo Paracucchi. From here his journey began at Arnolfo Ristorante.
The path that Gaetano undertakes is flanked by Giovanni Trovato, the Maitre de Maison and Sommelier of the restaurant, in which he offers a complementary perspective to the creations of Gaetano Trovato among 600 labels in the cellar. Thus, the wine becomes a fundamental ingredient between courses, accompanying food and making you discover tastes that from time to time complement and characterize the work that is on the plate.
Works of art in fact, every single proposal of Arnolfo Ristorante is equal to a small work of architecture, meticulously studied, literally, with pen and paper. Each course finds particular combinations of shapes and colors to express itself at its best in contemporary spirit, all this framed by sustainable gastronomy; all the seasonal raw materials in the kitchen of Arnolfo Ristorante are the result of attention to natural cultivation just 6 km from the restaurant where a small vegetable garden is cultivated with everything they need, so as to be able to appreciate and enhance the products of the local land. Bread, homemade pasta, desserts, all these experiences in a restaurant that wants to make you feel at home and wants to appreciate the Italian and Tuscan territory with the simplicity of their ingredients.
There are two tasting menus available: the Land Evolution consisting of 8 courses of seafood and meat at €160 and the Vegetable Architectures consisting of 8 vegetarian courses at €130.
An excellent cuisine that has earned two Michelin stars, Arnolfo Ristorante can boast a young staff ready to be inspired by the mentor chef Gaetano Trovato and with the novelty on the upper floor of a few charming rooms with a view (€240), I would say that a detour in your journey is more than necessary to indulge in a new little itinerary in the culinary architecture of the Arnolfo Ristorante. The restaurant is also a part of Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive association of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants around the world. Do note that as of writing, Arnolfo Ristorante is in the process of building a bigger and modern restaurant just outside the walls of Colle di Val d’Elsa, a dream project of Gaetano that has been planned for years and finally will see fruition soon.