Gluten Free Italy: Dario DOC, Tuscany

There were many fun aspects to planning a wedding in Italy but a weekend spent viewing potential venues and villas was certainly one of the most enjoyable. On our sunny Spring-time whistle stop tour of Tuscan rolling hills and central Florence we visited a villa near to the village of Panzano. The wedding planner had told us in somewhat revered tones that Dario Cecchini owned a butcher’s shop and restaurant in the village and it might just be possible to persuade him to come with his wonderful meats to the villa to cook for us and our wedding guests. She told us Dario was unique, and a real character (and if you don’t believe it, check out his website…). The villa was beautiful but we found somewhere we loved more which was located further away. Thoughts of Dario and his mighty meats were put on hold.

On our recent visit to Tuscany I was reminded of Dario when I saw how close our villa was situated to Panzano. We decided to visit for lunch. As well as the butcher’s, Dario has several eateries in Panzano.

DOC Dario (aka MacDario’s) operates at lunchtimes offering two set meals. For a bargain EUR 10 you get all of the following:

half pound burger in a crisp crumb crust
garlic and sage roasted potatoes
vegetables and sliced onions
our sauces
Tuscan bread (NB not gluten free!)
water with or without bubbles

For EUR 20 the Accoglienza menu is all of the following:

raw garden vegetables to dip in olive oil
Chianti sushi (steak tartar)
Chianti tuna (a pork dish)
pork roasted with herbs and garlic
meatloaf with sweet bell pepper sauce
Tuscan bread (NB not gluten free!)
water with or without bubbles

Having settled at the communal table, we went for the simple EUR 10 menu. The burger is cooked to a choice of only rare, medium or well done (no medium rare here!).

The meal is served with a choice of three sauces; Chianti ketchup (my favourite), sweet spiced pepper jelly a mustard dressing.

For meat eaters, this meal was fantastic; soft beef patty expertly cooked and exceptional value, all the while sitting under a huge parasol protecting us from the scorching Tuscan sun. Vegetarians would find slim pickings here; the menu didn’t list any vegetarian options and I didn’t ask (perhaps there are some).

The menu states that all dishes are lactose free but I’d checked beforehand and the meal is also gluten free (excluding the Tuscan bread, served separately) but including the delicious sauces.

In the evenings DOCDario transforms into Officina della Bistecca. Also in the village is Dario’s Solo Ciccia restaurant offering a six course meat extravaganza chosen by Dario and served at a communal table. Click on the links to see what meaty treats these restaurants offer.

As we walked back to the car park, we wandered into Dario’s butcher shop where he was standing behind the counter, big band jazz music blaring out of the macelleria. Truly, one of a kind.


Address and opening times below. These vary for each restaurant so please double check on Dario’s website here to avoid disappointment.

Via XX Luglio, 11 Panzano in Chianti Firenze
tel. +39 055 852020 fax +39 055 852700

Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday /
Thursday /Sunday 9 – 14
Friday /Saturday 9 – 18

tel: +39 055852727
Monday / Tuesday /Wednesday : CLOSED
Thursday / Friday /Saturday : 19.00 o 21.00
Sunday 13.00

Monday / Wednesday / Sunday : only upon reservation
Tuesday / Thursday / Friday /Saturday : 20.00
Sunday 13.00

Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday /
Thursday /Friday /Saturday: 12 – 15
Sunday : CLOSED


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. September 24, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    All of this sounds delicious! Thank you for the tips, and this makes me look forward, so much more, to my next trip to Bella Italia.

  2. Liz Crawshaw
    November 4, 2012 / 6:25 pm

    I read this before my own recent trip to Lake Como and Venice it was very useful. I too found frozen GF puff pastry in the freezer at the supermarket as well as GF pizza and GF tortellini!
    I’ve posted some restaurant recommendations on my site.

    • November 5, 2012 / 7:07 pm

      Glad to hear you had such a great time in Lake Como and Venice. I’d love to read your restaurant reviews, what is your blog address?