A Different Italy: Detailed Itinerary

Sicily: May 13-19, 2019 ~ for reference only

We are so glad you are interested in joining Peggy Markel Culinary Adventures in Sicily. We are excited to introduce a revamped version of our Sicilian program for 2019. For this program we have asked The Cheeky Chef, Linda Sarris, a New Yorker living in Palermo and Peggy’s long-time friend, to guide our group. She will take you from the markets of Palermo, to revered kitchens of the “introterra”, through renowned vineyards and more as you explore Sicily’s exuberant bounty.

We look forward to sharing with you the many wonders of Sicily’s delicious cuisine, varied landscapes, and warm culture. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@peggymarkel.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


“We have had so many wonderful conversations looking back and reflecting on the beauty of our ‘culinary adventure’ in Sicily. Our reflections are deep about the beauty of food being the conduit for understanding other cultures and their people. A true ADVENTURE and a wonderful learning experience.”  
– Carol & Nolan Blades, Canada, 2 x alumni

Sicily’s island borders embrace ages of influence – Greek ruins dot the land, Arabian eggplants, lemons, saffron, and nutmeg thrive in the volcanic soil and local artisans hand-make chocolates and cheeses.

Strong and elemental, Sicily retains an unconquered character and a romantic spirit, and you can taste it in her food. Sicilian dishes draw on history but abound with independent ideas and innovative interpretations that stand apart from the cuisine of mainland Italy.

On Sicily: A Different Italy we will coil our way through this dramatic region, from Palermo’s boisterous markets to the lesser-known intro-terra, home to noble wine estates; down to Modica for hand-produced chocolates at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto and to Marzamemi for the freshest fish and best-sundried tomatoes. We will unlock the secrets of Sicilian cuisine and eat, drink, and enjoy a region where the sense of taste alone leads one down countless passages of history.

Note from Peggy — “I could think of only one person to fill my passionate shoes and that was Linda, who has fallen for Sicily as deeply as I have. She presently lives in Palermo and leads tasting tours through Ballarò market and knows her way around the wiles of the isle, in cheeky style. I’m only sorry that I won’t be able to be there as well. It will be a blast and you will be in excellent hands. Francesco, our Opera-singing bus driver, will accompany and our friends will be waiting to receive you everywhere you go.”



Please note: this program starts in Palermo on the morning of May 13. Please plan on arriving the night before. Hotel recommendations for that night will be provided. Departure from Catania.

Dates City Lodging Nights
May 13-16 Regaleali Anna Tasca Lanza Private Estate Three
May 16-18 Modica Casa Talia Two
May 18 Catania Casa d’Aria One
May 19 Departure from Catania

DETAILED PROGRAM (Subject to Change)

DAY 1 – PALERMO / REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate

We will meet in Palermo’s historic center to start our Culinary Adventure right away with a morning walking tour of two of our favorite outdoor food markets. We’ll sample local delicacies as we stroll in awe through the labyrinths of the markets. As we sit for our first lunch together at a local trattoria, we will get to know each other and toast to the wonderful week ahead.

After lunch, we will take a local train to Sicily’s intro-terra (the center of the island). By late afternoon we arrive at Regaleali, the wine estate of Tasca D’Almerita, one of the most important producers in Sicily and home of renowned cookbook author, Fabrizia Lanza, and the site of the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school. The expanse of the “world of Regaleali” is breathtaking. 1,000 acres of soft rolling hills are planted with vines, olives, and almonds. Upon arrival, there will be time to relax and settle into our rooms before meeting for supper.

A food historian and amazing storyteller, Fabrizia, will share her knowledge of local cuisine and traditions with a welcome dinner at Case Vecchie.

DAY 2 – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate

Our day begins with breakfast in the cooking school kitchen, followed by a walk through the rose garden. We’ll march right into the kitchen with a few good things in our basket to prepared BBQ lunch together in the quaint courtyard. In true farm-to-table fashion, most of the food that will appear on the table during our stay at the estate is produced on the farm: fowl, lamb, sheep’s milk cheese, wheat, olive oil, bread, vinegar, vegetables, and freshly picked fruit.

After a short rest, we will have our first hands-on cooking class and dinner with Fabrizia. The food prepared is a combination of the countryside dishes and also of great Sicilian aristocratic families. Dinner at Case Vecchie.

DAY 3 –  REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate

This morning, be ready for another mouth-watering day. It’s springtime, so no doubt the focus will be on fresh ricotta. And what better way to taste it than to go straight to the source? We will visit a local sheep farmer and celebrated cheese maker who will share his craft with us. Breakfast will be served at the shepherd’s. As usual, Linda will be snuggling up with a newborn lamb or farm puppy in her arms, and you are welcome to join in.

Lunch and a cheese tasting will be served at Regaleali when we return. The menus are decided on that day, to take advantage of not only what’s fresh, but what inspires us in Fabrizia’s gardens.

Our afternoon hands-on cooking lesson will focus on pasta making. The garden and the seasons will dictate the ingredients for our sauce, and therefore, our pasta shape as they always go hand-in-hand.

Fabrizia wrote and directed a documentary film on Sicily’s sacred festivals and the food that accompanies the celebrations. This evening, after dinner, we will have a private screening of the documentary “Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily”.

DAY 4 –  REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate – MODICA, Casa Talia

After breakfast, we will bid farewell to Fabrizia and Regaleali as we head southeast towards the coast. We will enjoy a farm lunch and olive grove visit as we learn more about this noble fruit, followed by a wine tasting and tour of Arianna Occhipinti’s world-renowned winery.

We will then drive to Modica and settle into our beautiful little hotel in the hills overlooking the exquisite Baroque town. Dinner will be enjoyed independently, with our recommendations.

DAY 5 –  MODICA, Casa Talia

Chocolate is what Modica is famous for and gives southern Sicily a gastronomic star. In the morning, we are well embraced by our favorite chocolate shop, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, Sicily’s oldest sweet shop, for a tour and tasting. Afterward, we will delve even deeper into the world of cacao with a chocolate-making class at Ciomod.

You’ll have a chance to explore the Modica’s museums, cathedrals, and shops before we travel to Scicli for dinner at one of Peggy’s favorite restaurants, featuring delicious modern interpretations of traditional Sicilian dishes.

DAY 6 – MODICA – CATANIA, Casa d’Aria

For lunch, we have a special surprise in the seaside town of Marzamemi: a fabulous lunch by the Ionian Sea’s azure waters. A truly magical setting for our farewell lunch.  Later, we may stop in Noto, another fabulous Baroque town, for granita and gelato.

Finally, we’ll make our way back to the city of Catania for our last night where we will enjoy a very Italian “aperi-cena”, the combination of aperitivo and dinner, as we bid “ciao” to each other and close out the week with some volcanic wine from Mount Etna.


Breakfast and departure from Catania.

Buon viaggio!