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“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all,
for Sicily is the clue to everything.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Italian Food Artisans in Sicily
Custom Itineraries & Small Groups

Author, Pamela Sheldon Johns

Western and Southern Sicily
Euro 4350/person, double occupancy
Includes most meals, classes, visits, tastings
Includes ground transportation, start Palermo/end Catania
Includes 7 Nights accommodations in double occupancy, in four-star accommodations

Western Southern Sicily

Mercato PalermoWe start our program with a walk through the streets of old Palermo. We’ll step back in time as we stroll past the homes of once powerful Sicilian noble families and through the narrow side streets and alleys noting Arabic influences and tasting local food products as we go, especially the famous street foods such as panelle (chick pea fritters), pani cu’ la meuza (spicy spleen sandwiches), and arancini (rice fritters).

Our itinerary includes a visit to a family farm of a noted cookbook author, and up to the mystical village of Erice for a class on making the almond paste delicacies known as frutta di martorana. We will visit the salt flats, learn how it is harvested, and enjoy a meal influenced by the product.

As we make our way south, we’ll learn about the olives and olive oil of the different areas of Sicily, taste breads called chichireddru, cunzatu, and mroglia made with ancient grains, and enjoy the many versions of sheeps’ milk cheese found here. There will be hands-on classes to make classics such as caponata, arancine, timballi, cassata, and cannoli. We’ll stroll through ancient Greek ruins and enjoy the cuisine of Michelin-starred chefs. We’ll go to Noto have gelato in a brioche for breakfast. and taste Modica’s renowned chocolate—a very different experience from the usual chocolate as this is made by an Aztec method that was brought here from Mexico during the early years of the Spanish dominance.

And wine to pair with our food! You will delight in the excellent variety and quality of Sicily’s state of the art cantine and the wines they produce. The 23 DOC and one DOCG are made primarily from Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese grapes for red, and Ccatarratto, Grillo, Inzolia, and Carricante for white wines.

On some itineraries we can include the exquisitely preserved Roman villa in Piazza Armerina and the experience of the food and wine of inland Sicily, which is very different from the coastal areas.

Northern and Inland Sicily
Euro 3850/person (double occupancy)
Includes most meals, classes, visits, tastings,
ground transportation, start Catania/end Palermo
Includes 6 Nights accommodations in double occupancy, in four-star accommodations

Northern Inland Sicily

It’s a short drive from our meeting point in Catania to our first tasting, a lovely winery on the side of Mt Etna where we’ll have lunch and a tasting of their mineral-packed wines. On to romantic Taormina, one of the classic stops on the Grand Tour of the 18th century. Here we’ll stretch our legs with some walking to see the splendid views from the ancient Greek theatre, the elegant botanical garden, and to stroll through the old town. Dinner at a charming seaside restaurant.

RagusanoNext day, fully rested and ready to go, we’re off through the national park of Mt Etna, we’ll learn about some very special wines and the famous pistachio. Our foodie destination for lunch is a friend’s restaurant at the edge of the Madonie mountains. We’ll be sure to taste some Slow Food specialties found only here: Scillato apricots (if in season); Manna (a honey-like product); and Provola delle Madonie).

After two days of cooking traditional dishes at an exclusive wine estate, we depart for our finish in Palermo with a stop at the extraordinary Monreale Cathedral, and our final dinner .

On some itineraries we can include the exquisitely preserved Roman villa in Piazza Armerina and the experience of the food and wine of inland Sicily, which is very different from the coastal areas.

You can request an itinerary for these islands or an escorted all-inclusive trip
Options include sailing, fishing, hiking, biking, cooking and craft classes, and more

Aeolian Islands: Lipari, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea, Vulcano

Depart from Taormina early in the morning for the two-hour ferry to the island of Salina for a two-night stay. While there, we'll learn about the island’s two most important products born from the volcanic soil: capers and malvasia. We'll have plenty of time to relax in this quiet respite, with hands-on cooking and optional visits to some of the nearby islands.

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Pantelleria and the Egadi Islands: Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo

Pantelleria is well-known for their capers, and couscous is a favorite brought originally from north Africa by sailors. At one time this area was abundant with the now near-extinct bluefin tuna. Processors used a brutal fishing method called the mattanza (tuna fishing) which was banned many years ago. The history of the former abundance stilll shows up in dishes such as polpettine di tonno and ficazza, a type of salami made with tuna. Today visitors interested in sustainable practices will choose less rare species such as skipjack, yellowfin, albacore, or bonito for their meal.

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