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Banfi for a better wine world
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2003 20 Diciembre


Chef Guido Haverkock brings his flavors of Ristorante Castello Banfi in Montalcino to Manhattan this winter, as the James Beard House features a Castello Banfi Dinner on Thursday, November 20. 


Castello Banfi family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May will present her estate’s wines as they are paired with Chef Haverkock’s Mediterranean-influenced dishes.  The menu will be exemplary of the chef’s nightly menu for Ristorante Castello Banfi, located in the castle keep of the medieval fortress that crowns the Castello Banfi vineyard estate. 


Ristorante Castello Banfi was named by the prestigious Gambero Rosso Guide to the Restaurants of Italy as one of the three best new restaurants in Italy for 2003.  It is one of two new restaurants at the Montalcino, Tuscany estate, offering both formal and casual takes on local cuisine.  Dining rooms in an historic stone building offer breathtaking views of the rolling Tuscan countryside, with patios for al-fresco dining in the shadow of the medieval castle.


The elegant Ristorante Banfi, with clothed tables, frescoed walls and a welcoming fireplace, serves what has been described as light Mediterranean cuisine.  Its selection of meat and fish dishes are inspired by seasonal local produce, offered in tasting menus or à la carte.  A complete list of Castello Banfi wines rounds out the experience.


Taverna Banfi, on the other hand, is a more casual setting in the vaulted cellars of the building, with sturdy wooden tables placed under the brick arches where oversized wooden casks of the area’s traditional Brunello di Montalcino once rested.  Castello Banfi wines complement a 3-course tasting menu as well as à la carte selections of traditional Tuscan dishes and delicacies. 


The food for both restaurants is prepared fresh daily by chef Haverkock, who trained with Michelin two-star chef Heinz Beck at the prestigious La Pergola roof-garden restaurant atop Rome’s Cavalieri Hilton Hotel.  Chef Beck serves as the managing consultant for Banfi, and is scheduled to host the restaurant’s grand opening in February 2002. 


A three-course tasting menu at the Taverna costs 40 Euros (approximately $40) and a five-course costs 55 Euros (approximately $55) , including a serving of wine paired to each course of the meal.  Ristorante Banfi proposes two tasting menus with wines offered separately -- five courses for Lit. 91 Euro (app. $91), and seven courses for 127 Euros (approximately $127). Both dining rooms offer a la carte menus as well.


The Taverna is open for lunch between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, while the Ristorante has a 1:00 p.m. lunch seating Tuesday through Saturday and a 7:00 p.m. dinner seating on Friday and Saturday only.  Reservations made three to five weeks in advance are required for the Ristorante and recommended for the Taverna.  Visitors to the estate may also arrange for guided tours of the winery as well as wine tastings at the Enoteca and entry to the Giovanni F. Mariani Glass Museum, both located within the Castello complex.  Telephone 011-39-0577-816001, Fax 011-39-0577-816021, e-mail


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