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Sicily itself is off the beaten path for most travelers. For those of us who have known and loved her for years, and yearn to push the envelope, there are the Aeolian Islands—located North. Bathed in Mediterranean sunlight, seven islands dot the sea; one more notable than the next.
On Myth and Malvasia in the Aeolian Islands, we will coil our way through this dramatic region, visiting the striking islands of Sicily and Salina. Imagine the mouth feel of mineral wines, and the red glow of nightly volcanic rumblings. During Peggy Markel’s latest culinary adventure, you will glimpse into a slower pace of life.
Strong and elemental, Sicily retains an unconquered character and a romantic spirit, and you can taste it in her food and wines. Aeolian dishes draw on history but abound with independent ideas and innovative interpretations.
Thank you for wanting to explore Sicily and the Aeolian Islands with us! We look forward to sharing our passion for place with you.
Sample Itinerary (subject to change)
Day 1 – Arrival Day – Catania
During the day, guests can check into our hotel located on the outskirts of Catania. Relax in the gardens or at the pool as you adjust to the change in time zones. Tonight gather for a welcome aperitivo and dinner at the hotel and a chance to meet the rest of the group.
Day 2 — Catania
After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will set off for the fabled Catania fish market — a bustling and active historical market. Afterwards we continue our adventure to Terrazze dell’Etna Winery for a private tour of the vineyards, a wine tasting, and a multi-course lunch. From there we will return to our elegant hotel for a delicious dinner as an introduction to Sicilian cooking.
Day 3 – Salina
After breakfast we will travel to the port town of Milazzo and depart to the beautiful island of Salina via ferry. After arriving to the island and having lunch, we head to Hotel Capofaro, an environmentally-sensitive working vineyard, winery and hotel. Tonight, we will have a welcome dinner with Fabrizia, our dynamic host for the following two days. A renowned chef and cookbook author, Fabrizia has a special interest in traditional Sicilian cooking and preserving recipes, methods and local customs.
Day 4 – Salina
After breakfast we will visit a local caper farm to understand how they are harvested, cured and preserved. Lunch at the hotel. Later we will step into the kitchen at Capofaro for our first cooking lesson with Fabrizia. After preparing some Tasca family recipes together and sampling their famous wines, we’ll enjoy dining outdoors.
Day 5 – Salina
After breakfast we will walk through the vineyards and learn more about Malvasia, the local grape that is featured in both dry, mineral white wines as well as dessert ones. We will meet the winemakers and of course, sample and taste. Light lunch at Capofaro. In the evening, we go back to the kitchen for another hands-on and demonstration cooking class featuring the best Aeolian ingredients. Dinner under the stars overlooking Panarea and Stromboli in the horizon.
Day 6 – Salina
This morning we heed to the calling of the seas and take to a boat to explore the island from the vantage point of view of the water. We will sail, swim and enjoy the lulling waves as we toast our good fortune before moving to our next abode: Hotel Signum. After checking-in at our charming hotel overlooking the sea, we will relax and partake in optional spa services or maybe venture out and explore the island. In the evening we will gather together on the terrace for a cocktail to enjoy panoramic views of the setting sun, the volcano and the other small islands, before enjoying a multi-course menu designed especially for us by Martina, the hotel’s Michelin-star chef.
Day 7 – Salina
After a terrace breakfast, we will have a rare opportunity to cook with the hotel’s owner and its renowned young chef. This will be a wonderful introduction to Aeolian cuisine and the land’s bounty. After lunch we will explore the town of Santa Marina and its charming and chic boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and delicious granita and gelato stands.
Day 8 – Taormina and Catania
We bid farewell to the Aeolian Islands as we start our return to Sicily. After breakfast, we will take the ferry to Milazzo and head to Taormina from there. The quaint town of Taormina with its cobblestone streets, Roman Amphitheater, chic shops and vibrant life will enchant us. In the evening we will gather for our farewell gala dinner back at the hotel in Catania.
Day 9 – Departure Day
Breakfast and departure from Catania airport
Buon Viaggio, our Friends!