Relaxed and comfortable in our quiet apartment in Borgo Garibaldi. The owner mentioned to us that the agriturismo that runs the palazzo next door also has a restaurant, only open on the weekends.

“You should make a reservation”, she said, “but I think they are catering a wedding this weekend so,…I don’t know!?”

The restaurant was our neighbour, we could see their terrace from our window so we thought it would only be neighbourly to support them.
Making the reservation the next day, we were assured a table and that the wedding would not impede dinner service at the restaurant.

In the car Nat said to me ‚ “Did you ask them how much?”
“No”, I replied “I don’t think it’ll be too much. I just hope we get good food!”.
“We should go and crash the wedding!” I joked. “You know that’ll be a spread. An Italian wedding in a beautiful palazzo!”

Arriving at the reasonably early time of eight o’clock, as requested by the hostess, we were told by the waiter that the kitchen staff had been running late at the wedding and the service was going to start around 8:30.

In my mind, I was already thinking about my back up plan and what I was going to make from the leftovers in the fridge. Surprisingly, he showed us to our table on the terrace and plunked down an unlabeled bottle of red wine and a bottle of sparkling water to enjoy while we waited.

Time flew by and soon the waiter approached us to say that the service would now begin. At this point, another table of two and two tables of eight had taken their seats on the terrace including a family of barn cats that would be our entertainment for the evening.

The first course was slipped in front of us, zucchini blossoms stuffed with local cheese and vegetables.

“Hmm..‚ I said, these are really good! This could be a good meal…”
Nat replied, “There’s no menu. What else do you think we’ll be having?”
“No idea‚ I said, but it will probably just be a simple pasta, meat and potatoes, dessert and coffee, kind of thing.

The next course was served family-style, on the heels of the zucchini blossoms. It was an excellent cold dish of thinly sliced, lightly breaded pieces of pork with fried eggplant and zucchini tossed in a strong white wine vinaigrette and served like a salad, super tasty!

Sinking into the evening, another unlabeled bottle replaced the empty and the waiter started to serve the next course. This time he came carrying a large platter that held neatly mounded portions of freshly made beef tartare, Monferrina style. The lone waiter then proceeded to serve every person on the terrace himself. Being our lucky night, we had arrived first and so were served first. The tartare was superb, perfectly seasoned and freshly made.

“Now what, pasta and dessert?” Nat said, “I’m already full.”
“I don’t know,” I said, “I think the wedding may have just crashed us!” because I could see our capable waiter returning with another large dish. Warm flan served with a rich blue cheese sauce, delicious, light and pungent.

“Pace yourself”, I said. “I think we are getting the wedding menu tonight. I hope it’s not too expensive.”

Course five slowed us down with a super-rich dish that consisted of confit style rabbit, cooked slowly in its own fat and olive oil, until it flakes like tuna, into large chunks. A small pile of buttery morsels was served just warm and all alone. We were almost taken back by its lonely simplicity but its flavours were silky and bold.

“Where is the pasta? We haven’t even gotten to the pasta yet!” I said to Nat, anxiously realizing that we could be in for an epic meal.

Thankfully, a huge bowl of homemade agnolotti al Ragú made its appearance. Obviously homemade, they were fabulous. Rich meat filling dressed lightly with a traditional sauce.

Lucky course number seven drew us deeper down the rabbit hole with braised veal breast, served with a generous amount of lip-smacking braising liquid, reduced to a sauce, and a mix of wilted greens.
The house wine peaked in its pairing here and the decadent veal sauce threatened to slip us into a trance as darkness fell and the stars came out.
The family of cats, including a couple of adorable kittens, posed for table scraps and startled diners under the tablecloth. One, uncontrollably, lept onto our table.

The penultimate blow dealt, the summit was in view, all we had to do was sample an apricot tart, butter cake and a slice of chocolate salami and we could stick a fork in it!

Trying to find a word to describe how full we were, the smell of fresh coffee wafted over the terrace and that was our cue to slip away. Four and a half hours at the table was enough and we were going to be full for days.

“€56 altogether,” said the waiter.

Thanks to the newlyweds for a wonderful meal and evening. Although we’ve never met, the memory of your wedding will be in our hearts forever.