Who’s Sori now?

We are the happy owners of something we call the Yellow Book: its official name is Osteria d’Italia. It’s the best possible food guidebook for Italy and it’s helped us find delicious and comparatively simple meals in places we’d never have discovered by ourselves – a basement enoteca in Arezzo (an amazing layered onion soup); a few tables in the side room of a deli in Fiesole (fresh tortelli with a walnut sauce) and a taverna deep in the Umbrian countryside (the best chicken I’ve ever eaten and a fresh strawberry pannacotta that I still dream about).

So when we drove down from the Fréjus Tunnel to have dinner with a friend in Siena we consulted the Yellow Book to find a simple but delicious lunch along the way. ‘Da Drin’ in Sori seemed a good choice and their special stuffed veggies sounded lovely. Yes, it was open for lunch on Fridays; no, it wasn’t too far from the motorway.

Result? Well, not really. ‘Da Drin’ isn’t actually in Sori; it’s in a frazione of Sori that was very hard to find and we missed many turnings, even after asking for directions along the way. And I admit that my heart fell when we finally found the right road up to Capreno: the name should have given us a clue although I think even the most intrepid goat would blench at the camber and gradient. Still, we persisted – well, I say “we”; I mean Bruce did; by then I was in my award-winning state of unhelpfulness offering only high-anxiety comments like “aaaah, look out!” and “yikes, can this be right?” and “oh no!”. I freely admit that I would not like to be the driver with that going on beside me. Especially the bit that involves high-pitched shuddering gasps on hairpin bends.

Well, we got to Capreno in one piece and clambered up more verticality to the trattoria, where they had just closed the kitchen, at 1.45pm. No, they couldn’t serve us any food, and yes, they were slightly sorry about that but not, it seems, quite sorry enough to whip up some pasta and a salad to reward us for our perseverance. So we lurched back down the impossible hill and got back on the motorway.

But yesterday the Yellow Book came good again with a perfect trattoria in a little village close to our homeward road: ‘Da Gagliano’ in Sarteano.  I had this to start:

grilled pecorino and  slice of prosciutto with fresh fig sauce. It was ottimo. So was everything else.

So we’re not Sori.

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