Ryan Tatsumoto
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Photo of Riccardo Ricci perfecting his porchetta. (Photos by Ryan Tatsumoto)
Riccardo Ricci perfecting his porchetta. (Photos by Ryan Tatsumoto)

We closed out 2016 with the good fortune of having secured a table at Fete restaurant in Chinatown to sample the cuisine of the butcher of Panzano, Riccardo Ricci. If you were under the impression that butchers simply reduce an animal carcass to manageable pieces . . .

Photo of classic Tuscan pork chop dish was cut from the neck of the pig.
This classic Tuscan pork chop dish was cut from the neck of the pig.

well, you aren’t familiar with the butchers from the village of Panzano in the heart of Italy’s Chianti region. These butchers are the protégés of world superstar butcher, Dario Cecchini.

The Beginning

Riccardo Ricci was the star of the evening at Fete restaurant. But the story really begins with the Cecchini family. For eight generations, they have been butchers in the village of Panzano. Dario Cecchini currently runs the family’s shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, along with three restaurants situated around the shop. The restaurants use beef and pork butchered by the Cecchini family. Although most of the United States only got to know Dario Cecchini a few years ago on one of Tony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episodes, Dario was already was in demand worldwide for his expertise in dismembering a whole animal and cooking it from nose-to-tail, all the while perpetuating the recipes of Tuscany. He wasn’t present at the Fete that evening, but his knowledge and presence were evident in his protégé, Riccardo Ricci.

The Dinner

The dinner was supposed to have been held at Il Lupino in Waikiki. However, when Chef Donato Loperfido, a consultant at Il Lupino, left the restaurant, some 11th hour shuffling had to be done to rescue the plans that had already been made. Il Lupino was to have provided the wines through Chef Donato’s Flavors of Italy import business. Fortunately, Chef Robynne Maii and Chuck Bussler of Fete restaurant agreed to host the event. The swine wasn’t flown from Tuscany, but it was the next best thing — David Wong’s pork from Chef Bob McGee of Pono Pork LLC.

Photo of the colorful Tonno del Chianti
The colorful Tonno del Chianti

Festa del Maiale

(the pig feast)

Pinzimonio di Verdure con Profumo del Chianti

(raw vegetables with Chianti salt)

Crostini di Burro del Chianti

(Chianti butter toast)

Tonno del Chianti alla Marinara

(Chianti tuna with capers, onions and tomatoes)

Pici al Ragu Toscano

(Pici with Tuscan meat sauce)

Arista in Porchetta

(roasted pork)


Fagioli all’olio Extravergine

(Tuscan beans with olive oil)

Scamerita al Fiore di Finocchio

(pork chops with fennel pollen)


Patate al Rosmarino e Salvia

(roasted potatoes with rosemary and sage)

Torta all’olio Evo

(olive oil cake)

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