It is an easy ride downhill from Poggio Renzo to the lake of Chiusi. About ten minutes by bike, enough time to enjoy the beautiful Tuscan landscapes once again.
Less known from tourists, the Chiusi lake is nonetheless worth a visit. This natural, almost untouched lake sits in between hills and offers visitors tranquility. For nature lovers, the lake is the perfect spot for bird watching. For those who, like me, prefer tasting local cuisine, the Chiusi lake is perfect for a picnic. Or even better, eating a typical Etruscan lunch at the lake’s restaurant, the Ristorante Pesce D’Oro.
If you go there, you must try “brustico”, a dish that was reportedly already cooked by Etruscans. Brustico is made from black bass fished in the Chiusi lake. The fishes are quite small – between 200 to 300 grams each. They are placed on a grill and then literally carbonised on each side with fire from wet lake reed.
When the fish is cooked, it is cleaned from all its scales, and cut into small pieces. It is traditionally served in small plates with local olive oil, lemon and a side of “fagiolina di lago”, small white beans grown near the lake. Surprisingly, it is perfectly cooked, with a delicate smoky flavour. Pesce d’Oro is also serving brustico with home-made tagliatelle, cherry tomatoes and parsley – another dish that is a real bite from heaven.
Brustico is only made around the Chiusi and Montepulciano lakes in Tuscany. It does not get more local or authentic than that. And, trust me, the experience is definitely worth the journey.