Castello Banfi shared the diplomatic and culinary spotlight of two nations as the Italian Ambassador honored one of Japan's many Italophiles - Prince Takamado, seventh in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.
Chef Fabio Danzo of Florence's five star hotel, Grand Hotel Villa Cora, and one of Tokyo's hottest chefs, Minoru Sonehara of the "Il Leone" restaurant at the Takanawa Prince Hotel, prepared the royal dinner. The royal family and guests shared Banfi Brut as an aperitif, and dined on five courses that included Taglierini pasta with white truffle and Parmesan cheese accompanied by Castello Banfi SummuS 1997, and tenderloin of beef with porcini mushrooms matched to Poggio all'Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1993. The meal was closed with dessert and Castello Banfi's late harvest Moscadello 1998.
Villa Cora, which overlooks downtown Florence, has hosted Japan's royal family in the past, including a royal visit by Emperor Akihito in 1993. Italian Ambassador Gabriele Menegatti selected the wines of Castello Banfi as an expression of Italy's best - the estate has been declared Italy's top producer for the past seven years by the World Enological Concourse at the VinItaly wine fair in Verona. Castello Banfi wines are becoming a traditional choice at diplomatic dinners in Italy, served most recently at meals shared by the Italian Prime Minister and the German Chancellor, as well as a dinner at the US Consulate in Florence marking a visit by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Other guests at the Takamado dinner included Adriano Villa, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Makoto Asabuki, CEO of the Japan Center for Inter-Cultural Communications, and Takashi Endo, chairman of Benetton Group Japan.
Prince Takamado, 50, is a first cousin to Emperor Akihito and the third son of Prince Mikasa, the last surviving brother of the late Emperor Hirohito. Following the dinner, he was presented with a bottle of Castello Banfi ExcelsuS 1997 by Yoshiaki Miyajima, Banfi's Assistant Sales and Marketing Manager for Japan.