August 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Tuning in to Tasty Italy

Recently when I was in Tuscany, a region fiercely proud of its beef, I sunk my teeth into a carnivore's dream come true. In a stony cellar, under one long, tough vault, I joined a local crowd for dinner. An open fire in the far back of the vault powered the scene. Flickering in front of the flames was a gurney, upon which lay a huge hunk of beef. Like a blacksmith in hell, Giulio — a lanky man in a T-shirt — hacked at the beef with a cleaver, lopping off a steak every few minutes.

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