Palazzo and Michelin star are three of my favorite words. At the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze in Palazzo della Gherardesca, these three words deliciously collide at the famed Il Palagio.
You can dine al fresco on the verdant garden terrace and watch the sun reflect in your glass as it sets over botanical gardens. Or indulge in modern Tuscan elegance inside under the light of its many chandeliers. Either way, even before your meal begins, Il Palagio is a feast for the senses.
It was a hot May day so we opted for the terrace, which absolutely was the right choice. The gardens were lush and magical. A stunning backdrop to an incredible meal.
I let the sommelier choose the wine. We started with a Tuscan Fattoria Di Montechiari “Donna Catherine” and then moved on to a Gavi di Gavi white that sang out of the glass.
Once our dishes arrived the negotiations began. “Can I have a gnudi, if I give you one of my prawns?” These flavorful negotiations are always a win/win.
Here are a few of the dishes that we battled over with our forks.
Warm ‘francesina’ stewed beef salad on swiss chard cream
Gnudi: traditional ricotta cheese and wild asparagus dumplings served with San Miniato saffron sauce
Cavatelli pasta ‘cacio e pepe’ with marinated red prawns and baby squid
Pigeon from Assisi with Vin Santo and thyme scented caramelised fruits.
What I enjoy so much about fine dining is that every forkful, dab, swirl, or smear on your plate offers a new experience of flavor. You never know what direction those mysterious three green dots are going to take you. Which only adds to the fun of discovering new flavors.
By now the sun had set and twilight had faded into black. Which meant it was time for dessert.
With desert came even more negotiations and fork fighting over ‘Amedei’ chocolate and cardamon mousse with coffee ice-cream and the Mascarpone lingot with salted caramel pecan nuts and ‘Malaga’ ice cream.
Like the last page of your new favorite book that you don’t want to put down, this was a dinner that I didn’t want to end. More than just delicious. It was dreamy. A pinch yourself surreal “La Dolce Vita” moment. I was even tempted to leave behind an earring. Something to come back for.
But then I remembered how beautiful Il Palagio was also on the inside. And how it would be an entirely new experience to dine under its chandeliers.
Tonight, I could keep my earring. I had found my reason to return.
*Photos courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
*I was a guest of the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze