Before leaving for Italy, our family watched an episode of “Chef’s Table” on Netflix devoted to Dario Cecchini, a butcher in the small town of Panzano in the Chianti region south of Florence.

So we looked up him up on the internet and, luckily, were able to book a reservation at his restaurant, attached to his butcher’s shop in Panzano.

Dario was there, and we were able to meet him. His story is a fascinating one.

As the child of a small-town butcher, Dario grew up eating all the side cuts and offal, which he loved. He never at a steak until the day he turned 18, when his father made him one.

Dario wanted to become a veterinarian, to take care of animals, not kill them. But when his parents died, he had to drop out of school in Pisa and take over the family butcher shop in Panzano.

At first he was terrible at it, constantly cutting his hands, because he felt he was doing violence to the animal. But eventually he found a mentor (his father’s meat buyer) who taught him to understand and embrace his role in the cycle of life.

He opened up two restaurants: one (which I’d love to try sometime) devoted to the side parts and offal he grew up eating, the other (which we took the kids to) devoted to the prime cuts of steak.

Panzano and Florentine steaks being cooked on an open fire in Dario Cecchini’s restaurant in Panzano in Chianti, Italy.

Steak tartare (raw, tender beef) which my 9-year old son surprisingly loved, at Dario Cecchini’s restaurant in Panzano in Chianti, Italy.

“Chianti butter” (pig lard) which we slathered on our baked potatoes at Dario Cecchini’s steak restaurant, on display in his adjoining butcher’s shop in Panzano, Italy.

Scenes from the biggest steak meal I’ve ever eaten, at butcher Dario Cecchini’s restaurant in the small town of Panzano, Italy.

Glimpses of the local festival taking place in the small town of Panzano in Chianti, Italy, after we finished our meal at Dario Cecchini’s restaurant.

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