by Barb B
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona
September 28, 2000
Although my husband and I have eaten in the castle-restaurant many times, each experience provides a new and romantic event. On this trip, my sister and her husband are with us and this is their first visit. They are impressed by the profusion of flowers and the numerous statues in the courtyard.
We have arrived just before Noon, a bit early for lunch by Italian standards; therefore, we stroll around outside castle and take photos of the well, the stockade, the town of Montecchio below and naturally, lots of pictures of each other. One of the waitresses sees us in the courtyard and calls out to invite us inside. She explains that the staff is just finishing their lunch and we are welcome to look around inside.
When we enter, the employees are at a table in the rear and we are welcomed with loud calls of "Boun giorno--Benvenuto!"
We only just begin to admire the rich woodwork, beamed ceilings and marble works when the young waitress tells us they are ready to serve us and she leads up a narrow spiral staircase. We are both surprised and delighted to be seated at a huge round table in center of the main tower. This is the only table in this room and the walls hold magnificent paintings of Romeo and Juliet. Huge silver urns overflow with fresh flowers and soft arias are merely a whisper in the background.
Our waitress speaks English quite well and offers personal recommendations. (Probably quite easy since she has just sampled the offerings at the staff luncheon!)
A superb selection of both international and local wines is available, at remarkably reasonable prices. Fresh warm bread and pots of butter are served along with thin "grissini" bread sticks while we make our selections.
My sister and I both opt for soup and salads. The Capracce salad (sliced tomatoes with soft buffola cheese, drizzled with olive oil) and a wonderfully fragrant white bean soup topped with rosemary. Both of the men choose salads of mixed greens and hearty pastas. A robust ziti with a rich sauce of basil and pine nuts and a simple but delicious Spaghetti Marinera. My sister and I take small "tastes" - just to make sure it is "good enough".
The service is attentive and the white linens, polished silver service and huge brass candlesticks add to the elegant ambiance. We linger over cappuccino and amaretti (tiny cookies) yet we never feel rushed, even as we take pictures of ourselves beneath the paintings of Romeo and Juliet.
This lavish lunch, impeccable served in such a romantic setting cost only about $25 (US dollars) per couple. A marvelous bargain by anyone's' conversion
From journal Northern Italy-Hill Towns of the Veneto