Our big boy had a birthday wish, to stop in Panzano in Chianti on our way down south, and eat once again at the Antica Macelleria Dario Checchini, where years ago his own "Proustian memory" was created, during our first visit to this traditional yet highly unusual butcher shop in the heart of the Chianti region. There he discovered a real Tuscan paradise for carnivores like himself, and had is own "episode of the ciccia / meat" - his version of the madeleine - that has often surfaced since then in his childhood memories.
On our return visit years later, he wasn't disappointed, as this "episode" was just as juicy as the one in his memory: magnificent meat, eaten in a convivial and joyous environment at long tables where guests share a leisurely, lively meal, passing around water, wine flasks and steaming plates of side courses.
Then he listened to Dario explain his philosophy of raising cattle ethically, giving them a good life for 10 years during which they enrich the landscape with their manure, and then using each and every part of the animal, with respect and imagination. (The three restaurants associated with his butcher shop are open in rotation, according to what cuts of meat are available.) And indeed, the Chianina beef he took us to see seemed very contented with their placid life as manure producers for the gorgeous Tuscan fields surrounding them.