Between what we get from the property and our hunter friends who supply us with more we have a lot of game at Petraia. That’s why it wasn’t until recently I finally made the pilgrimage to this legendary place to eat it. I’d been hearing about Il Baracchino for years. The trattoria is just outside the small mountain village of Tirli, high in the densely wooded Maremma hills known for their population of porcini, cinghiale and cacciatori. Here you are half way between the busy summer resorts of Follonica and Castiglione della Pescaia and just a short drive from the fashionable port at Punta Ala. But Il Baracchino is a world away from all that.
People come to Tirli from all over the region to eat cinghiale and, while there are other boar restaurants nearby it is Il Baracchino they line up for. We learned this the hard way several years ago, having made the 2 ½ hour drive from Petraia only to find cars queued for what seemed like miles up the narrow switchback road leading to the trattoria. I made a mental note to return some day for lunch when things might be a little quieter. Recently we found ourselves back in the area, it was lunch time and we were early. Not only did we score a table but we also met the friendly owners, their generous staff and a local forager who just happened to be making her delivery.
Il Baracchino is a real gem and an endangered breed of Tuscan restaurant. Founded in 1968 by the same family that run it today this is one of those increasingly rare places where the quality of the food, the authentic character of the place and of the people conspire to produce a magical dining experience that is somehow much greater than the sum of its parts.
Besides delicious wild boar and porcini the restaurant boasts a spectacular location where the cinghiale are so local they could easily wander right over to your table (weren’t it for the fence). The outside tables are set under ancient chestnut and cherry trees that offer welcome shade on a hot summer day as well as a nice snack for the above mentioned locals. The pasta was fresh, long sheets of it were still hanging and waiting to be cut in the kitchen when we arrived. The meat exceptional and the porcini the best I’ve ever had. The house red wine we poured into our green glass tumblers was a perfect compliment to the meal and so was the view of the verdant hills of the Maremma as they fell away into the glistening Tyrrhenian Sea.
So if find yourself in the Tuscan Maremma with a hankering for wild boar and porcini ….
We’re going back to Il Baracchino soon to try their wild boar sausage and many other menu items we didn’t have room for.
Hope to see you there……