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A Cultural and Culinary Hot Pot: Sicily

Sample Itinerary

Italy offers one of the world's greatest cuisines and so it is fitting that it is the birthplace of the now-international Slow Food Movement. Slow Food's mission is to protect our precious food heitage - and no destination is more deserving of that than Sicily.

Discover Sicily's diverse and exciting cuisine that has evolved from the influence and the ancient traditions of its conquerors, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans. Travel from Palermo to Taormina and along the way see the salt being harvested from the marshes, make ricotta cheese, tour olive mills, and delight in the sights, sounds and tastes of colorful markets. Dining will include: farm-to-table feasts, elegant Michelin starred experiences, savor organic wines, and, enjoy stops in cafes for gelati and extravagant deserts.

Day 1

Arrive in Palermo and private transfer to your 5* hotel overlooking the sea. Enjoy a welcome prosecco - Italy's signature sparkling wine - and canapes on the hotel terrace, followed by dinner al fresco in a local ristorante in Palermo.

Day 2

Morning tour of the colorful Capo outdoor food market with a food historian and well-known author who has lived in Sicily for decades. Stroll the narrow medieval streets where tarocchi (blood oranges), giri (leafy greens), herbs, artichokes, cuttlefish, swordfish, gutted goats, lambs, breads and cheeses will all vie for our attention. Lunch of piatti tipici palermitani (Palermitan specialties) at a trattoria in the Borgo. Afternoon and evening free to explore Palermo.

Day 3

Day trip to the western side of the island. After viewing the ancient Greek temple at Segesta, continue to Trapani to see the salt pans. The harvesting of salt in Trapani (home to some of Europe's oldest salt marshes) dates back to the time of the Greeks and Romans and flourishes to this day. Many cooks prefer sea salt to that harvested from other sources. This pure salt, with its trace elements is perfect for fish, like the seafood couscous for which Trapani is famous. This afternoon we will tour an ancient salt mill on the water and lunch on seafood couscous. We continue on to Marsala, this seaport town has an indissoluble bond with the wine that bears its name. We will visit the renowned Cantine Florio, one of the oldest and most influential producers of Sicily's famous Marsala wine for a special tasting. Return to Palermo.

Day 4

This morning, a guided tour of Monreale Cathedral famous for its gold mosaics. After a light lunch, a demonstration and tasting of the classic Sicilian dessert, Cassata Siciliana The Sicilians are known for their extravagant desserts and most of their pastries are tied to a religious, mystical, or historic significance. Cassata Siciliana is a yellow layer cake filled with a ricotta cheese mixture, frosted with marzipan and decorated ith candied fruit in flowerlike patterns. For dinner, we are guests of an aristocratic Palermitan family. La cucina Baronale began in the medieval kitchens of the nobility and evolved with the arrival of French aristocracy on the island.

Day 5

Depart Palermo for the grand country estate, Regaliali. This estate is one of the most important wine-producing estates in Sicily and a working farm that provides almost all of the the produce - and the wines - it serves its guests. In addition to the vineyards, there are olive groves, orchards, chickens, and sheep. Experience a tour of the winery and a tasting, followed by a hands-on cooking class. Lunch will be a true farm-to-table experience.

Day 6

Breakfast. Early departure to the Roman Villa Casale, to view some of the finest mosaic floors that have survived intact for centuries. After a light lunch, proceed to your 4* hotel in Modica.

Day 7

This morning, demonstration and tasting of the cold-processed chocolate at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. The tradition of preparing bitter chocolate and using it in savory cuisine has survived here unscathed. Make a stop in the baroque town of Noto, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

This evening enjoy a seven-course degustation dinner, with matching wines, prepared by one of Sicily's most acclaimed chefs with two Michelin stars. At his small elegant restaurant he delivers simple cuisine - his own interpretation - but always tied to the Sicilian seasons, Sicilian ingredients and Sicilian traditions.

Day 8

Depart for Siracuse, noted for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture and association to Archimedes; it is over 2,700 years old. Guided tour of archaelogical park. Lunch and afternoon at your leisure. Overnight at a 4* hotel on the waterfront. Dinner at a local trattoria.

Day 9

Depart for Taormina with a stop en route at a Mt. Etna winery.Enjoy a tour, tasting and lunch. Arrive at your 5* in Taormina, with views over the Ionian Sea. Evening at your leisure.

Day 10

A day to explore, shop, visit the Greek theatre, or simply relax. Farewell dinner.

Day 11

Morning transfer to the Catania airport.