SICILY'S CULINARY SPLENDORS
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At the table you forget your troubles—Sicilian proverb
There are two separate trips scheduled for 2011. The Sicily's Culinary Splendors West tour in the spring will feature the western half of the island, while the Sicily's Culinary Splendors East tour in the autumn will cover the eastern side of Sicily.
At the center of the Mediterranean, but on the periphery of Europe, Sicily is quite a distinct entity from the rest of Italy. Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, and Aragonese conquerors have transformed the landscape, and Sicily's diverse history has left it with an abundance of archaeological remains.
Sicilian cuisine, one of Italy's most varied, has also been influenced by its unique location and the invaders it attracted. During the Sicily's Culinary Splendors tours guests will sample the region's food and feast on exquisite Sicilian culinary specialties, accompanied by tour leader Michele Scicolone, prolific food writer, authority on Italian food, and the author of several cookbooks. During the trips guests will also visit some of the spectacular Greek ruins and explore the rugged coastline of Sicily.
Based on simple ingredients, Sicilian cooking is simple to execute, yet sophisticated to the palate. An abundance of fresh fish, local ingredients including eggplant, capers, and olives, and special dishes such as cassata, an elaborate sponge cake with ricotta and candied fruit, make any Sicilian meal a feast. Traditional specialties include pasta con le sarde e finocchi (pasta with fresh sardines and wild mountain fennel), caponata (sweet and sour eggplant ragout) and sfinciuni (Sicilian pizza).
Michele Scicolone is the highly respected author of several cookbooks, including the blockbuster bestseller The Sopranos Family Cookbook and the soon-to-be-released Entertaining with the Sopranos. She has written for Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Prevention, and Wine Spectator. Michele has appeared on the CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, and Cooking Live, which she has also hosted.
Michele's other titles include A Fresh Taste of Italy, Italian Holiday Cooking, La Dolce Vita, Pizza: Any Way You Slice It!, Savoring Italy, The Antipasto Table, and Pasta, Noodles & Dumplings, part of the new Williams-Sonoma Mastering cookbook series. One of her latest books, 1,000 Italian Recipes, features a wealth of recipes for traditional and regional Italian specialties and was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Michele teaches cooking classes at schools around the country and visits Italy several times a year.
During the Sicily's Culinary Splendors tours Michele Scicolone will conduct daily lectures about the local specialties and seasonal dishes. Local English-speaking tour guides will escort guests to the archaeological sites at Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, and Siracusa.
Visit a famous pasticceria and watch a pastry-making demonstration in the enchanting town of Erice
Enjoy a delicious meal featuring local delicacies at La Tonnara di Bonagia, a former 17th-century tuna fishery that has been carefully restored to a 4-star hotel complex
Travel to the Via del Sale to tour the historic saltworks, where the ancient tradition of harvesting salt from the sea is still practiced.
Tour Agrigento's Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples), a UNESCO World Heritage site
Sample the region's wines at top local wineries
Spend two nights at a top-rated Relais hotel with gourmet restaurant
Explore the splendid medieval town of Cefalý, built on the site of an ancient Greek settlement.
Enjoy guided tours of Palermo, Sicily's bustling capital, and the magnificent mosaics of Monreale
Savor the local delicacies at Palermo's bustling food market La Vucciria
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS—Sicily's Culinary Splendors West
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS—Sicily's Culinary Splendors East
Savor a delicious tasting menu in the historic center of Ortigia
Visit the archeological park in Siracusa, site of the amazing Greek Theater and other classical monuments
Travel to the several of the late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto region (southeastern Sicily), which collectively are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Try the sweet pastries and chocolate treats at a Modica confectionary shop that was founded 120 years ago
Marvel at the well-preserved Roman mosaics at the Villa del Casale
See a cheese-making demonstration at a traditional cheese making facility
Shop in the town of Caltagirone for ceramics, a traditional Sicilian craft
Sample the DOC wines and food delicacies at a winery located at the base of Mt. Etna
Spend two nights in the spectacular town of Taormina with views of Mt. Etna
Michael San Filippo, the founder and director of Cantalupo Tours To Italy, will also accompany guests on the Sicily's Culinary Splendors tours. The author of Everything Learning Italian as well as co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture, Michael is also founder and editor of About Italian Language, the leading online destination for Italian language.
Michael, a New Yorker of Sicilian heritage, studied in Italy as a graduate student and currently conducts private tutoring in Italian for students of all levels and abilities. With a Master of Arts degree in Italian Studies from the Middlebury College Italian School Abroad program, he has a thorough knowledge of all things Italian including Italian culture, history, and Italian wine and cooking. Having traveled throughout il bel paese, Michael is dedicated to sharing his passion and enthusiasm for Italy with fellow travelers and providing an unparalleled travel experience in Italy.
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