Montisi people like their food, and they like it natural, produced fresh daily and without preservatives and additives. There is a local saying, "If I wanted to eat 'medicines' I would go to the chemist," which underlies this predilection for organically produced local foods, which covers everything from meat to fruit and vegetables. Handmade and home cooked are the underlying characteristics of Tuscan food.
You can have a bite to eat in most of the cafès, and sit down to some serious eating at any of the restaurants. If you are lucky enough to coincide your visit with one of the traditional Contrada dinners, which happen at irregular moments throughout the year but particularly during the summer months, you will be treated to old-style, large-scale traditional feasting at long tables and benches, served in the open air. The abundant food is cooked by the men and women of the four Contradea, and is served by the youngsters—endless courses and flowing wine in uncorked bottles. Contrade San Martino, Piazza, Castello and Torre will all welcome you.
• Vitis Vinifera Our newest establishment, opening in early April 2013. Built into the rock of the mountain as a wine and food storage cantina, is a new osteria/wine bar in the heart of the village that specializes in acquainting visitors not only with the specific wines of our area, but with the notable characteristics of Italian wines and winemaking.
• Mama' (formerly Il Rondo) Two local fellows, Marco and Mauro (Ma-Ma), experts in enjoying our local foods, wines and a good time operate MaMa' 7 days a week, lunch through after-dinner aperativi. Live music in the summers every Friday night until 12. MaMa' serves a wide range of good wines and serves excellent cocktails, pastas, salads and an array of local meats and cheeses. It is open noon to 1 a.m. and is located at the easterly end of the village, opposite the hotel/restaurant La Romita.
• Il Barrino Gianluca and his family keep this little bar humming 18 hours a day throughout the year. It has an endless parade of clients from 6:30 a.m. when the first shots of coffee go to early risers on their way to work through the mothers on their way walking their children to school, the mothers with babies in prams, the pensioners later in the morning, the midday aperitivo crew, a short break for lunch and then back on track for coffees after lunch and then on to midnight and beyond. Newspapers, magazines, CDs, and ice cream are for sale—it is the social center of the Montisi universe.
Upstairs is the new Trattoria, www.ilbarrinodimontisi.it where Gianluca's mother prepares her seasonal specialties in the new crisp, light and modern dining room. Local wines of interest and distinction can be had with a small chat with Gianluca. Friendly and informal. Open Tuesday through Sunday, for lunch and dinner.
• Bar Sportivo Up a steep slope into the centro storico of the village, this bar is run by the sports association to generate funds for the football club, the tennis facilities, etc. Definitely the least expensive bar in town, one of its greatest assets is free table football (foosball) and a ping pong table. Open evenings only. Gelato makes this a great walking destination for both native and visiting children. Via Umberto 1, No. 147, 0577 845190.
• Ristorante La Romita Tiny restaurant (only five tables) all organic and cooked by Cordon Bleu chef Giovanna. They have been serving this highly specialized menu (which changes constantly with the seasons and the inventiveness of the chef) for over twenty years, and Alberto Bindi claims that he coined the term "Slow Food" years ago, well before it became an important culinary concept, while Federico Fellini was amongst his close circle of clients. Booking is essential and don't be late! Via Umberto I, 144 0577 845186
• La Taverna da Roberto Located across the street from La Grancia, da Roberto is housed in the original stables for the grange, beautifully restored. Traditional Tuscan fare is featured, with a strong emphasis on exclusively locally sourced, organic and seasonal ingredients. Roberto Crocenzi takes great pride in serving his guests in a relaxed and personal manner. Outside eating under a pergola in hot weather. His wine list is excellent and expanding, including a range of sought-after regional labels. He often hosts food events organized by the local Slow Food Convivium or condotta. Tel: 0577-845159. Reservations required. Via Umberto I, 144 0577 845186
• Osteria di Simone Located in the heart of the village on the tiny central piazza, this new café serves a full menu of light lunches, beers and wines indoors or on the panoramic view terrace, towards Siena. At night the menu expands to include pizza and a few specialty dishes depending upon the season. Full bar and in the morning, call pastries and caffé.
• Alimentari Branconi—grocery and local specialities They have decided to specialize in a range of high-quality meats and cheeses, as well as stocking all the groceries that you might require. They have deliveries of fresh local produce and our local bread on a daily basis, and a reserve of produce and groceries is kept at hand in the cantina across the road in cellars under the castle. Perfect beer temperature!
• Forno Rosati Verena is the village bakery supplying the village and surrounding areas with fresh breads, pizzas, ciaccia, paste (sweets), cakes and that wonderful smell of warm bread throughout the year. Verena's inventions are mouthwatering like her nameless sweets which are a cross between ricciarelli and chocolate truffles.
Montisi is famous for locally grown and milled olive oil. The village produces exceptional quality olive oil from the 6 or 7 preferred local olive varieties. The local mills use different techniques for extracting the precious olive oil, and each batch will have its own defining characteristic flavour, colour, and texture. Oil is pressed in late October, into November, and tasting new oil is a festive local tradition—new oil has its own distinctive flavors, and a fresh herbal taste and color. Montisi hosts a lively new oil festival, generally the second weekend of November. Among producers who are allowed to label and sell their olive oil to the public are the following:
• Azienda Agrituristica La Grancia, available at La Grancia and at Alimentari Branconi
There are also a number of small independent farmers with olive groves, some of whom you may be able to persuade to let you have a taste, especially when just-pressed.
Montisi is located in the center of three famous wine regions—Chianti, Vino Nobile and of course, Brunello—all roughly equidistant from the village. Local wines produced all around the village are coming to prominence with two new DOC filed just recently. Vitis Vinifera is a new osteria/wine bar in the heart of the village that specializes in acquainting visitors not only with the specific wines of our area, but with the notable characteristics of Italian wines and winemaking. Antonella Piredda, a licensed guide and sommelier, is available to custom design tours throughout the area of vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms. She is part owner of Vitis Vinifera, too. Also visit Taverna da Roberto to see and sample his extensive wine list with your meals.
There is only one vineyard producing commercially available wines in Montisi. Now producing an excellent organic DOC Orcia red wine sold by the bottle or the case, they have a range of red, white, young and aged wines, plus their delicious and expensive Vin Santo. By arrangement you may also purchase red wine by the demijohn (54 litres).