One of my most memorable dining experiences was on Christmas Day in 2015 in the gorgeous walled town of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy.
In the midst of our Winter European getaway, my family and I spent a week over Christmas in Lucca and were lucky enough to book into a restaurant just a few streets away from where we were staying called ‘Allosteria’ for Christmas lunch.
Being Christmas Day, we had no idea what to expect and were frankly just relieved to be eating anything as we had feared that everywhere would be closed. We had fortune on our side however, as we were warmly welcomed into a beautifully festive dining room and had the full attention of the impeccable waitstaff (whose English was fortunately much better than our Italian!) as we were the only diners for most of our meal.
For just €50 per person, we were treated to a delectable 7-course lunch, which also included assorted fresh breads, soft drink, coffee and biscotti.
BEST. CHRISTMAS LUNCH. EVER!
To start, we were offered a selection of warm breads; white, wholegrain, and a delicious local Christmas variety with spices, nuts and fruit.
We then enjoyed a surprise ‘chef’s welcome’ course of tender smoked chicken on crunchy bread with a tangy herb sauce.
The official first course was chicken breast with crispy chicken ‘crackling’ on wilted greens with a rich jus. *Drool.. that chicken crackling was to die for*.
Next was a feast for the eyes as much as the tastebuds; smoked local beef carpaccio with a ‘garden’ of vegetables and aged parmesan (30 months we were proudly told).
Then came freshly made, pillowy tortellini in a clear chicken broth.
Next up, a creamy pumpkin risotto with a buffalo mozzarella swirl and beetroot cubes.
By this point we were feeling very well fed and festive… but the best was yet to come!
Our main course was a generously sized, medium rare beef fillet with a rich jus, charred artichoke and a fondant potato.
I dearly wish that at this point I wasn’t so full and could have done this incredible meal justice. Fortunately though, Dad helped me finish mine… and finished Laura’s – thanks for taking one for the team Dad!
For dessert, we had a light and airy lemon mousse on crumbly, buttery biscuits with berries and a Nutella smear.
Amazingly, the dessert felt so light that despite being close to bursting from all the previous courses, I managed to finish it. And I may or may not have just about licked my plate clean…
To finish we were served coffees and adorable little chocolate and hazelnut biscotti. Bellissimo!
While the exquisite food was undoubtedly the highlight of this meal (and one of my highlights of the trip!), the friendly service and ambience also played an important role in making it so memorable. The waitstaff did a wonderful job translating the menu for us, and thoughtfully allowed us to have breaks between courses and enjoy the meal leisurely over several hours without feeling any pressure to hurry.
If ever you find yourself in Lucca (and I really urge you to visit, it is one of my favourite places in the world), do yourself a favour and visit Allosteria. Their a la carte menu is equally delicious (blog post to come) and their Christmas menu… well, it’s worth travelling to the other side of the world for!
Open: 12-2.30pm & 7-10:30pm daily
Location: Via Sant’Andrea, 8, 55100 Lucca, Italy
Phone: (+39) 0583 492899
Price: Antipasti from €6, first courses from €6, mains from €14.50 & desserts from €5.50
Rating: 5/5 cupcakes
– Christmas menu price correct as of 25/12/15
– Menu prices & restaurant details correct as of 20/5/17
– I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Allosteria