Home TravelsItaly PS Ristorante’s lucky star is green – The Restaurants of Tuscany, Italy

PS Ristorante’s lucky star is green – The Restaurants of Tuscany, Italy

11 minutes read

The Michelin Green Star was introduced in 2020 to recognize sustainable practices in restaurants. The award goes to restaurants that follow high ethical and environmental standards, work with sustainable producers and suppliers and strive to minimize waste, use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials. Michelin Green Star restaurants are still far fewer than traditional Michelin Star restaurants, so durig our trip to Tuscany we were determined to visit at least one, see the concept and see if we could find a difference with the rest non-Green Star restaurants. And here we are, on a Saturday evening at sunset, climbing a hill on top of which is Villa Petriolo. There is PS Ristorante– one of only three restaurants in Tuscany with a green star at the time of our visit (September 2022).

The lounge of PS Ristorante in the village of Cerreto Guidi, Tuscany, Italy
The lounge of PS Ristorante in the village of Cerreto Guidi, Tuscany, Italy

Stefano Pinciaroli dreamed of being a chef since he was 6 years old

To have a restaurant in his home village where he can pour out his inspiration and delight the guests. He has worked all over the world, including some of the best restaurants in Florence. Finally, we find him exactly where he wants to be, namely at home – in the village of Cereto Guidi, 30km west of Florence, on a picturesque hill where the Villa Petriolo estate stands – an eco-complex of a hotel, three restaurants, a cellar and a farm.

Villa Petriolo – a small, boutique hotel with a farm near the village of Cerreto Guidi in Tuscany
Villa Petriolo – a small, boutique hotel with a farm near the village of Cerreto Guidi in Tuscany
Lorenzo (left) and Stefano – the people behind PS Ristorante, a restaurant with a Michelin Green star
Lorenzo (left) and Stefano – the people behind PS Ristorante, a restaurant with a Michelin Green star

Lorenzo Caponi is married to Stefano’s sister. He is a great sommelier and restaurant host, welcoming guests with a smile and guiding them through the restaurant experience with a remarkable sense of humor. Lorenzo obviously knows that good food and good wine are nothing without a good mood. Therefore, the service cannot flow without some “teasing” and jokes to break the elegant atmosphere of the restaurant.

PS Ristorante's open kitchen
PS Ristorante’s open kitchen

Every great dinner starts with a glass of sparkling wine

Although Tuscany is known for its red wines, many places surprised us with great local sparkling wine. Here it is from Trebbiano, Malvasia and Vermentino. At the same time, the appetizer appeared on the table. It was actually a combination of the five most iconic appetizers of the restaurant since its opening, which was back in 2010. Among them we found a shrimp bisque, dried anchovies in the shape of a cypress, their legendary pate of liver.

The appetizer - a combination of the five most iconic dishes in the restaurant's history
The appetizer – a combination of the five most iconic dishes in the restaurant’s history
Every good dinner starts with a glass of sparkling wine
Every good dinner starts with a glass of sparkling wine

How does a restaurant get a Michelin Green star?

We continue the conversation about the sustainable philosophy of Villa Petriolo . Much of the produce for the restaurants is grown organically on the surrounding farm, including vineyards and ancient wheat varieties. Other products come from producers in the surrounding villages. With considerable efforts, the owners of the restaurant convinced their suppliers to use minimal packaging when bringing their products to them. The fish comes from the farthest – about 80-100 km, because the village is in the continental part of Tuscany.

The kitchen appliances are environmentally friendly and use half the energy of standard appliances. The buildings are equipped with an intelligent system and a computer optimises the use of energy so that there are no losses. The latest invention is biodegradable vacuum bag. Lorenzo and Stefano are extremely happy that the innovation has worked, because sous-vide technology is a practice in many professional kitchens, and the use of polythene bags is part of the process.

Greenery is on every table in the restaurant
Greenery is on every table in the restaurant
PS Ristorante is located in a former wine cellar, where the facades of the old concrete fermentation tanks can still be seen
PS Ristorante is located in a former wine cellar, where the facades of the old concrete fermentation tanks can still be seen

In order to feel the different tastes and aromas as much as possible, we ordered different tasting menus. For Andrey with meat, for Mimi – with fish and seafood. And the wine – well, we were really experimental there. Andrey chose a pairing with the wines of Villa Petriolo. And Mimi immediately chose the “wine game” – pairing wines with food at the discretion of the sommelier, but with hidden labels. A blind tasting where you try to guess what you’re drinking.

Blind tasting? Always ready!
Blind tasting? Always ready!

And so the carousel turned

First act – bread from an ancient local variety of wheat grown in the area, along with olive oil from their olives. Trout from a nearby mountain farm for Mimi, which comes with fresh white wine. Mimi knows it’s Vermentino, from Tuscany. Sweetbread with eggplant, truffle and lemon sauce and green apple jam.

Mountain trout
Mountain trout
Sweetbread for Andrey
Sweetbread for Andrey

The wine for Andrey is Golpaia, from Sangiovese and Merlot, some of the grapes are dried for 10 days and then added to the already fermenting grape must. 25% of the wine is aged in oak, and the result is endlessly rich and exciting.

Golpaia from Villa Petriolo – a great blend of Sangiovese and Merlot
Golpaia from Villa Petriolo – a great blend of Sangiovese and Merlot

Spaghetti with fish belly, squid, dried apricots and liqueur sauce. Goat ragout with marjoram apples, goat cheese sauce and red wine reduction.

Spaghetti with fish belly and squid
Spaghetti with fish belly and squid
Goat ragout for Andrey
Goat ragout for Andrey

In the second act, another white wine appears at Mimi’s, with a sense of ageing in oak. It also turns out to be Vermentino, but from Sardinia. Andrey enjoys an absolute classic – Chianti Riserva 2016 from the local winery.

The absolute classic – Chianti reserve. And 2016 is one of the best vintages, according to local winemakers
The absolute classic – Chianti reserve. And 2016 is one of the best vintages, according to local winemakers

It’s time for the main course, our thoughts are already wandering all over Italy, and the notes are getting harder and harder to understand. Here, Andrey’s dish is guinea fowl breast with plum chutney, roasted sauce and yogurt ice cream, and the wine is a rich bouquet of varieties – Poggiarello Toscana IGT.

Andrey and his main course – breast of guinea fowl
Andrey and his main course – breast of guinea fowl

For Mimi, it’s amberjack fillet, spicy sauce and pepper stuffed with shrimp.

Fish fillet and pepper stuffed with shrimp
Fish fillet and pepper stuffed with shrimp

The wine has a strong floral aroma and distinct minerality. This time guessing is impossible. It turns out to be from the Kerner variety, which is a cross between Trollinger, a South Tyrolean grape variety from the Muscat family, and Riesling. The wine itself also comes from South Tyrol (Alto Adige).

The wines from the blind tasting
The wines from the blind tasting

Desserts are

everything we don’t expect

For Andrey it is peach with lavender sorbet and Mimi gets edible crayons to draw the most beautiful shapes she can on the pancake in front of her.

Paint Your Own Dessert - PS Ristorante, Tuscany, Italy - Michelin Green Star Restaurant
Paint Your Own Dessert – PS Ristorante, Tuscany, Italy – Michelin Green Star Restaurant
Peach with lavender sorbet
Peach with lavender sorbet

In the middle of the night in the wine cellar

It was extremely difficult for us to leave, no matter how much we had to. Finally, Lorenzo suggests that we go through the winery, where there was a hen party until a little while ago. This is the old winery which is perfectly preserved but it is not operational, as the wine making process, technique and aromas are not always pleasant for hotel guests. Their wines are made in their other winery nearby.

The old wine cellar with the concrete fermenters, which today is mainly used for events
The old wine cellar with the concrete fermenters, which today is mainly used for events

And so,

how can we define the food at a restaurant with a green Michelin star?

Is it different from other restaurants?

The question is irrelevant, of course. Comparing the works of the greatest artists or musicians is pointless. Likewise, it is pointless to compare top class restaurants like this, among which there are no better or worse, only a great experience, different at each location. Passion, excellent food and truly memorable hospitality – PS Ristorante fully deserves its accolades and we believe there are many more to come.

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