Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano, Italy

The longer I live in Italy (nine months and counting!) the more I appreciate good old fashioned butcher shops. So often in the U.S. we only see our beef neatly packaged in the grocery store. Buying meet from a butcher makes me feel a little more appreciative of the the food and where it came from.

These feelings are, obviously, what made us so happy to not only eat at Dario's restaurants, but to also stop into his butcher shop. The place is like a shrine to meat. One entire wall is full of all of the books and magazines that Dario has been featured in. What's so amazing is that despite his food fame, the guy is obviously happy just working in his shop every day, interacting with people and enjoying damn good food.

While we were there we picked up some of Dario's salt mix, Il Profumo del Chianti. Seriously, when you sprinkle a bit of the salt on a piece of pane toscana and top it with good olive oil, it's like crack in food form. So good.