The highlight of the Denver Food & Wine festival last week was the opportunity to meet Dario Cecchini, the famous “Mad Butcher” of Tuscany– mentor and cherished friend to some of the US’ most notable chefs, including Mario Batali (read about Batali’s history with Cecchini in the wonderful book, Heat, by Bill Buford) and Denver’s own Chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano restaurant.
Cecchini’s family has run the butcher shop in Tuscany for around 250 years and he has been behind the counter for 40 of those years. Needless to say, watching him with a knife (or a saw, see the photos below!) is mesmerizing!
The takeaway from his visit: there is no part of an animal that is “better” than any other, so use every piece of meat and the bones and skin for stocks, and so on (some of their recipes here)–in doing so, we kill fewer animals and waste very little (which he noted is important when so many people in the world are hungry); make sure the animal butchered has lived a good, full life, so that the meat is pure; and most quarrels (even political!) can be resolved by a great meal together!
It was a great honor to meet Chef Cecchini and his wife (and translator). We hope you, too, get to meet them during their travels– or at their shop in Tuscany, Antica Macelleria Cecchini…they said their door is always open to new friends and visitors. Enjoy photos and a video from last weekend below: