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FLORENCE, ITALY – I’m always a little leary of people going outside their expertise. But there was nothing worrisome Saturday night at the historic Antinori Palace restaurant and wine bar.

appetizerThe iconic Italian wine family started a tasting room in the late 1950s – that would be about 600 years after they started making wine.

I had visited the Antinori bar about four years ago and found it very attractive, if not a bit stodgy or pretentious. It’s good to report that it was neither Saturday night with a group of 25 folks associated with Wabash College. It proved to be one of the best meals I’ve had in ages, and I’ve had some good ones lately.

We did shared appetizers and desserts with everyone ordering their own first (pasta, soup, or salad) and second (steak, veal, vegetable) course. The proscuitto wrapped melon, zucchini salade, and small crostini with several toppings got us off to a strong start with the affordable Antinori Tuscan white. The white wine is widely available in the U.S. I’d never had it before but found it delightful  and far about the usual  U.S.. price.

vealI had the fresh tomato soup, which had lots  of basil and oregano with great texture. The huge hit for me was the tender, juicy veal with perfectly roasted potatoes.

We had a dessert plate of cheesecake with fresh strawberries, biscotti, and a delightful pear cake in a cream sauce. A small sip of the Italian dessert wine Vin Santo and we all went home happy campers.

The photos do better than I do at this hour!

Bouna notte from Italia!