A Feast for the Senses.
I originally found the Castello Di Montalero through an internet search as I had long wished to attend a cookery course in Italy. I was attracted to its being family owned and hence a ‘one off’; not part of a franchise. My wife agreed to come too, partly as an indulgence to my love of cooking and her love of eating! Neither of us were disappointed and significantly, my wife’s anxiety about the ‘cookery school’ aspect, quickly abated as the classes, well described in other reviews, are relaxed and fun. There are many tips for already proficient cooks and Chef Beppe’s style invites everyone to participate. I have already managed to successfully recreate the recipes demonstrated, which is a test of the instruction received.
I echo and endorse the positive and fulsome reviews of many others. Added to which I would say that the stay with the Watkins in their truly magnificent Castello is a veritable feast for every sense.
Visually the building, its contents and grounds are very beautiful. No description does the Castello justice and everywhere there are hidden vistas and beautiful things to look at within and landscape to absorb from the windows and terrace without. We were fortunate with non-stop sunshine so the views were bathed in differing lights from dawn til dusk.
The food, when served is a visual feast and beautifully presented as well as being sumptuous. Some meals we had prepared ourselves during the various classes, the rest were prepared and presented with flare and aplomb by Beppe.
So, our taste buds were well cared for with food and plentiful wines, aperitif and disgestif. Charlie got the balance right between education about the wines and his sheer enjoyment and enthusiasm of their qualities.
We enjoyed being part of an international group of fellow guests and conversation flowed with shared experiences of food, wine, architecture, markets and much more. So, the sounds of chatter were accompanied by the intermittent church bell and at night, the haunting hoots of owls.
The pool is gorgeous and much needed exercise can be gained by regular swims to burn off some of the calories and there are many places to walk and find solitude to simply ‘be’ as a contrast to the pleasures of the group experience.
In short, it is a privilege to live for a few days in such beauty, to enjoy the delightful feasts and withdraw from the hurly burly of everyday life and savour the senses. In our view it represented value for money and the experience has left us with a legacy of memories to enjoy through the winter months until we can visit again next year.
If you are travelling alone, you will be very well cared for by the Watkins family and if you love food and wine, you will meet other amateur enthusiasts and have a wonderful time.
(Jane M, Sep 2023)