Italy: Lecce, Part 2

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After settling into our charming room at the Patria Palace in Lecce and dressing up for a gala dinner in the evening, it was time to take the short, lovely walk to Castello di Carlo, a 16th century castle.  Our first adventure would be wine tasting with Zonin.  As Kristina and I ascended up the ancient stairway, we already knew it was going to be a good night.

Lecce castle stairway

A table greeted us at the top of the stairs.  It was only the beginning.

Lecce wine glasses on table


We entered the next room.

Lecce wine tasting tables

Fairly soon, every chair was filled and a buzz filled the air.  Everyone was given a “Tasting Notes” pad.  At the top was a line to write the wine, followed by photos of an eye, a nose, and a mouth for jotting down thoughts.

Lecce wine server

Our servers were very efficient.

Lecce wine pouring

Each wine was discussed and explained.  I learned a lot that day! Pretty soon, we had quite a variety.

Lecce wine glass line-up

Following the wine tasting, there was to be a gathering down on the lawn before dinner.  Kristina and I left the wine tasting room and looked out one of the enormous castle windows.  The workers were busy setting up.  It looked like a dream from above.  The sun was just starting to set and everything was glowing.

Lecce castle outdoor setting up

Lecce castle outdoor setting up 2

The servers started taking their places, chefs arrived at their stations, and it was time to descend down those amazing stairs to the courtyard.

Lecce setting up 3

Lecce setting up 4

The chefs began cooking.  Aromas filled the air and we wanted to run through the smoke and breathe it all in.

Lecce female chef 1

Lecce male chef

Within no time, the place was alive with guests.  Remember, this is just appetizers!

Lecce party in action

Lecce buffet line

There was even music with a dancing girl!

Lecce dancer

The food was wonderful, but we had to pace ourselves as we knew dinner was coming up next.

Lecce salad

Lecce plate and wine

Well… we tried to pace ourselves.  Didn’t work out, did it?  I’ve never had such fresh seafood.

Soon everyone was checking a board that we realized was the seating chart for the dinner inside.

Lecce seating chart

This was a huge party.  We wondered what the room looked like that would hold all those people, then remembered this was a castle, so no problem.  Actually, now that I think about it, a Game of Thrones episode should be filmed here.  A tame one.  This castle is too magnificent to mess up.

Everyone found their respective table seatings and headed up the castle stairway once again.  We had to navigate through massive hallways to find the room, but when we came upon it, there was no doubt this was the place.  It was like walking into a dream.  This couldn’t be real.  The pictures may be breath-taking, but in reality, they don’t come close.  I swear our feet were floating as we walked in.

Lecce dining room 1

Lecce dining room 2

Kristina said, look up!

Lecce castle ceiling 1

Lecce castle ceiling 2

I can’t even guess how high those ceilings must be.

We walked around and finally found our assigned table.

Lecce dining table

We were seated with a couple of people from our group, along with engaging new guests.  Dinner was wonderful.  The menu was in Italian, but you can probably figure out the food by looking at it!

Lecce pasta dish

Lecce fish dish

Lecce dessert table

Lecce desserts 2

Lecce desserts 1

Lecce desserts tart

After dinner and of course, wonderful Zonin wines, we were presented with the most stunning and appreciated gift from Zonin.  It was a gorgeous serving dish;  a souvenir of local Puglian craftsmanship on the occasion of the inauguration of Masseria Altemura, where we would be going tomorrow –  for more food and wine, and for the next blog for you to read!

Lecce gift plate

Some of you may recognize this dish because I have used it in several blog posts!  It is one of my favorite dishes.

Wait until the next event.  You might just meet a Cardinal.  And his bodyguards.  And lots and lots of Prada, Armani, etc..  It’s quite a party.

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One Response to Italy: Lecce, Part 2

  1. July 23, 2015 at 6:28 am #

    Amazing evening filled with wonderful sights, sounds, smells, flavors, and interesting people. Delightful! And the best part, is sharing it all with your dear daughter; unbelievable memories (like floating into the room!) that you both will always enjoy together. It is simply thrilling to get a glimpse of your sensational time in Italy. Can’t wait to join you for part 3!

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