Located in a central position between Turin and Milan, Castello di Montecavallo looks forward to welcoming you with a multitude of unique experiences from the worlds of culture, nature, fine wine and gourmet food.
In 1821, Filiberto Avogadro, a capable diplomat, envoy of the Royal House of Savoy to the Holy See, brought back the family ensign to the Biella hills after purchasing a large estate from the Invalids Hospital of Biella for 92,000 Lira. During the Middle Ages, this same estate was owned by the Avogadro family.
In approximately 1830, Avogadro started with the construction of the castle on the hilltop, over the remains of an older structure belonging to his family in 1200. The neo-gothic style, which is unusual for the region of Biella, was adopted because king Carlo Felice of Savoia had charged Filiberto with supervising the reconstruction of the abbey at Hautecombe, near Chambery. At the time, a renewed interest in the Middle Ages brought about a renaissance of the gothic style in France, Germany and England.
Romanticism then saw medieval architecture as a symbol of the history and tradition of various European states. Filiberto thus found himself confronted with an avant-garde style, and possessing an open mind, he decided to adopt this style for his own residence. The project was given to the architect Dupuy, who also went on to design part of the old Invalids Hospital in Biella.
The owner, who lives in the castle, continues the family tradition of winemaking by producing a range of excellent wines that can be sampled in the cellars.
At he heart of our cuisine is the desire to use only produce grown in our own gardens or sourced as locally as possible. Only the freshest, first choice products are served to our customers as a point of honour worthy of the finest quality our region can offer. Traditional dishes from the Biellese region and also from Piedmont and Liguria (Salt Road) form the basis of our inspiration. We have chosen to interpret them in a way that combines tradition and lightness, because it is essential to take account of changes in lifestyle, eating habits and also weather that is not as bitterly cold as it was in the past.
So, for example, risotto in cagnun, the dish par excellence for weddings and great feasts in Biella, is revised and made lighter by reducing the amount of butter and Macagno cheese so as to make it more digestible and fresher. However when it is in season we do use the special butter, burro del presidio slow food della La Trappa and the Macagno cheese from the Alpine valley of Val Sessera. We have also introduced the use of sage so guaranteeing an end result that is tastier and less heavy. The antipasti are the stars of our menu: veal with tuna sauce, potato salad, anchovies with green and red source, stuffed eggs, "bagna cauda", and also stuffed vegetables in Ligurian style, Genoese meatloaf, fried anchovies and much more.
Our pasta is always freshly prepared, by hand using fillings and sauces which are appropriate to the season. The gnocchi (dumplings) are also made by hand with our own wonderful potatoes that are grown by us in here in Montecavallo.
Of course, one of the most popular dishes in our menu is risotto, which serves to pay homage to the vegetables and meat from our area.
Another dish that we offer is the fritto misto alla Piemontese which is now prepared with the aid of new essential cooking techniques that make it lighter and easier to digest. Even the desserts tell the story of our countryside and our Piedmontese culture. So we offer in rotation: bunet, monte bianco, meringues, chocolate bread pudding, hot zabaglione and other inventions of the moment.
The historic cellars, which still exists, were built at the same time as the castle, and have remained an important testimony of the methods used for wine making before the advent of modern machinery.
You will still see the venerable chestnut vats, the ancient barrels and extremely heavy tubs, that bear witness to a tradition and a tenacity that has rooted itself in us and inspires us to keep alive the memory and to carry on with that journey that was started so many centuries ago.
The new cellar has been converted from the premises where once were the stables. Nothing of the original architectural structure has been changed, but the work of upgrading has made this a new winery that is up to the moment and functional but without losing any of the charm of the old building.
In the building below the tower of the castle are two charming, guest rooms, each equipped with all modern comforts and furnished with care and attention to detail. Guests have at their disposal a common lounge for reading, computers and relaxation, with free wi-fi. You can also enjoy the park and the garden in front of the chapel and be pampered and looked after by the owner who speaks fluent English and French.
It is possible to have lunch and/or dinner in the agriturismo restaurant which, for guests of the B&B, offers an exclusive dining room or, weather permitting, in the garden and the charming "limonaia" or Lemon House.
Guided tours to the cellars and to the ice house, also to the park and the vineyards that come right up to the garden of the castle with the opportunity to taste wines.
The tours will be guided by the owner herself in Italian, English or French.
13 May: Castelli Aperti Day, wine tastings in the cellar, the garden will be open from 10.00 to 17.00.
Cocktail with local products at 11.00 and 18.00.
The Restaurant will be open at 13.00 and 20.30, booking recommended (tel. 333 4348405).