Il Bottaccio di Montignoso

Il Bottaccio is a hotel/restaurant situated 3 km inland off the road between Viareggio and Massa. It's part of the Relais & Chateaux chain and as such has a reputation for high quality. The structure itself dates from the 17th century and was originally an olive mill. It's been restored with an effort to maintain the original character of the mill while providing luxury and comfort to guests. Exposed dark wood beam ceilings, dark wood framed windows and antique furniture combine to make you feel as if you've stepped into a fairy tale. More impressive, in the dinning area, tables are arranged around an indoor pool. The overall effect is a thoroughly original and charming atmosphere. I think that this setting would make for a really unique and memorable wedding experience.

And now, to the food. My husband and I began our meal with a complimentary cheese crepes starter that was light, aromatic and helped to open our appetite. and a slightly bitter/acidic wine sauce. When eaten together, the balance of flavors was perfect. I really enjoyed this dish. The duck was stewed in a red wine and coriander sauce with broccoli, potatoes, and carrots. I lived in Toulouse, France for four years and have never eaten duck prepared in this way. A very original and subtle dish that you appreciate more and more with each mouthful. To accompany our meal we chose a 2002 Avigononesi Rosso di Montepuliciano which was 37.00 euros for the bottle and the least expensive selection on the wine list. It starts with a rich flavor and finished fairly acidic. To my taste, it lacked a bit of character. For the price, I expected something a little more impressive. A complimentary plate of assorted mini tarts and cookies was brought for dessert. In addition, my husband and I shared a truly decadent chocolate torte. It was rich, creamy and buttery without being too sweet. A chocolate lover's dream come true. We had coffee to finish and then sat back and took in our beautiful surroundings. The bill came to 137.00 euros.

I would characterize our meal as highly creative and well prepared. The setting was truly memorable. I recommend Il Bottaccio as an elegant choice to hold an intimate wedding reception.

posted by gina, 2005-07-22

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