detailed itinerary ~ may 9 – 17, 2017 ~ NEW dates and itinerary!
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 Catania’s ancient costal fishing villages to the lesser-known intro-terra, home to noble wine estates; down to Modica for hand-produced chocolates at 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.
ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
|May 9||Catania||UNA Palace Hotel (or similar)||One|
|May 10-15||Regaleali||Anna Tasca Lanza Private Estate||Five|
|May 15||Modica||Relais Modica||One|
|May 16||Catania||UNA Palace Hotel (or similar)||One|
DETAILED PROGRAM (Subject to Change)
MAY 9, 2017 – CATANIA
Welcome to Sicilia! Arrive at your leisure and check into the UNA Palace Hotel. Relax until we meet in the lobby for an aperitivo at 6:30 PM, followed by dinner at one of Peggy’s favorite restaurants.
MAY 10, 2017 – CATANIA – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate
This morning, we will meet after breakfast to walk to Catania’s fabled fish market. Strolling through the market is a wonderful way to immerse ourselves into the rich culture of Sicily — and meet some wonderful characters too. Located in the historic center of town, this market gathers fish and vegetable vendors daily. We will share lunch at a nearby trattoria before riding a private van to Sicily’s intro-terra.
By late afternoon we arrive in Vallelunga at Regaleali, Wine Estate of Tasca D’Almerita, one of the most important wine-producers in Sicily and home of renowned cookbook author, Fabrizia Lanza, and the site of the renowned Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking school. Since her mother’s passing, Fabrizia has taken her family’s legacy to a new level. The expanse of the “world of Regaleali” is breathtaking. 1,000 acres of soft rolling hills are planted in vines.
Upon arrival, there will be time to relax and settle into our rooms before meeting for supper.
A historian as well as a chef, Fabrizia will share her knowledge of local cuisine and its history with a hands-on cooking class. A welcome dinner will follow, served at the main house, Case Vecchie.
MAY 11 – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate
Breakfast in the kitchen sampling the fabulous jams and jellies made by Fabrizia and her team. When we are finished eating fresh bread with homemade jams and local honey, we will take a walk through the rose garden, which will surely build up an appetite for the meals to come! We’ll march right into the kitchen with a few good things in our basket for our cooking class with Fabrizia. The food that is prepared at Casa Vecchie is that of the countryside, but also of the great aristocratic families—it ranges from brioches to a soup made of tender greens (tenerumi), from profiteroles to the sfinci of St. Joseph, telling the story of many Sicily’s, layered over thousands of years.
Most of the food that will appear on the table during our stay at Anna Tasca Lanza’s Estate is produced on the farm: fowl, lamb, sheep’s milk cheese, wheat, olive oil, vegetables and fruits.
In the late afternoon, we’ll have a hands-on cooking class. Dinner at Case Vecchie
MAY 12 – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate
After breakfast, be ready for another mouth-watering cooking class with Fabrizia. It’s springtime, so no doubt the focus will be on fresh ricotta. And what better way to taste fresh ricotta than to go straight to the source? We will visit a local sheep farmer and celebrated cheesemaker who will share his craft with us.
Lunch to follow. The menu will be decided that day, to take advantage of not only what’s fresh, but what inspires us.
This evening, we will explore the wine cellars of Regaleali with their immense oak barrels sure to impress. A proper wine tasting will give us the breadth of the wines produced at Tasca d’Almerita. Of course, a tasting of the various wines will accompany all meals while at Regaleali.
Dinner at Case Vecchie.
MAY 13 – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate
This morning after breakfast we will have a lesson on pasta-making with Fabrizia and her team. We will make a variety of shapes and decide what we should make for lunch. As always, the garden and the seasons will dictate our sauce ingredients, and therefore, our pasta shape.
Fabrizia wrote and directed a wonderful documentary on Sicily’s Sacred Festivals and the food that accompanies the celebrations. This evening we will have a private screening of the documentary “Amuri: The Sacred Flavor of Sicily” in Fabrizia’s living room followed by a discussion with her about local traditions. We love hearing her stories about the making of the movie.
Dinner and wine tasting at Case Vecchie.
MAY 14 – REGALEALI, Anna Tasca Lanza’s Private Estate
Today we have breakfast at 8:30 before embarking on a day-trip to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. These ruins are one of the most important archeological sites in the world and a Unesco world heritage site. Fabrizia is a historian so be ready to learn much about these fabled Greek ruins! For lunch, we will have delicious picnic in the shade of the trees at the Kolymbethra Garden, an orchard surrounded by the nearby temples.
We will return to Regaleali for an aperitivo and our farewell dinner at Case Vecchie.
MAY 15 – MODICA, Hotel Relais Modica
Our last breakfast at Regaleali before bidding farewell to our friends. After breakfast, we will drive towards Modica, an exquisite baroque town. We settle into the Hotel Relais Modica.
This afternoon we will go on a walking tour of the city and then some free time, for a chance to explore the town’s museums, cathedrals, and shops in the cooler evening air.
Dinner will be enjoyed independently, with Peggy providing recommendations.
MAY 16 – MODICA – CATANIA
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, Dolceria Bunajuto, Sicily’s oldest sweet shop. Pierpaolo Ruta will demonstrate (and we will sample) a few of his spectacular chocolates.
After chocolate tasting, the group leaves Modica and heads east to Catania. If time permits and the mood is right we may stop in Noto, another fabulous Baroque town, to have world-renowned gelato at Café Sicilia.
For lunch we have a special surprise in the seaside town of Marzememi: a fabulous lunch by the azure waters. A magical setting for our farewell lunch.
Finally, we’ll make our way back to Catania for our last night.
MAY 17 – DEPARTURE
Breakfast and departure from Catania airport. Buon viaggio!