A Gastronomic Tour of Sicily
'One of the 50 best holidays in Italy.'
- The Times Jan 25, 2014
One of 'The 50 Best Cultural Tours'
- The Telegraph
'Embark on the Gastronomic Tour of Sicily for a mouth-watering vacation.'
- USA Today
Eastern Sicily is home to a vibrant culinary tradition that mixes delicious local produce with cooking styles drawn from its many foreign rulers, from the Byzantines to the Arabs, and from the Normans to the Spanish.
The rolling hills and fertile plains produce seemingly unlimited quantities of fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables, while abundant flocks and herds produce delicious cheeses and meats. These riches are surrounded by rich fishing grounds, filling the market stalls with an enormous range of marine delicacies. To complete the picture, Sicily now produces some of the most highly regarded new wines in Europe, the perfect accompaniment to its long-renowned ices, fruit drinks and digestifs. This veritable cornucopia of delights provides all the ingredients for a magnificent voyage of cultural and gastronomic discovery.
The modern cuisine is one of the defining creations of the uniquely diverse past of this great island and its history, culture and archaeology will be fundamental elements of our journey.
As we travel through the ever-changing landscapes of Eastern Sicily we will discover how the Bronze Age civilizations left their mark on the rolling hills of Pantalica (one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites we will be visiting on this tour); we will walk through an elegant Roman farmhouse with world-famous mosaics at Piazza Armerina; and we will sample almond granitas in Noto, one of the most beautiful baroque towns in Europe.
Your guides on this brand new food tour in Sicily, have lived and worked in this region for many years. They have drawn deeply on their personal knowledge of land and people to craft an itinerary that combines practical cooking experience with highlights of the region’s cuisine and visits to key historical and cultural sites.
As this Sicily food tour relies so closely on seasonal produce, the itinerary may change slightly to take advantage of the best culinary delights on offer. We are certain that any food and wine lover will be in raptures over this week-long cultural and gastronomic feast.
“...the Sicilian cuisine and superb wines were absolutely worth discovering. Tasting a different wine with each course can be a success only if their quality is excellent, and this most certainly was the case. Every day seemed to be the best of the tour till next day when we started all over. The best accommodation, the best meal or the best site was always today. In other words, I enjoyed every day to the brim and the whole journey was a succession of excellence. Thank you!” Leonie, Brussels, Belgium
As well as our gastronomic tour of Sicily you can also join us on our Exploring Sicily tour which provides an unforgettable encounter with the island’s long history and culture.
Day 1: Our hotel is on the island of Ortygia, the UNESCO World Heritage site at Syracuse's heart, about 45 minutes from Catania airport. Welcome drinks and dinner as we introduce you to some of the tastes and flavours of Sicily.
Day 2: The day begins with a drive to Palazzolo Acreide, a charming small town with a wealth of baroque architecture, where we visit the Archaeological Park and the impressive and evocative ruins of the ancient Greek settlement of Akrai. Afterwards we head to a nearby olive farm where the owners are producing award-winning organic extra virgin olive oil from native, centuries-old, olive trees. We tour the farm before enjoying a wonderful lunch of local delicacies which have been carefully selected to perfectly compliment a special tasting session of this unique olive oil. We return to Ortygia in the late afternoon and, after a brief rest, enjoy a Sicilian wine-tasting aperitivo with a local expert Sommelier before the rest of the evening is free.
Day 3: We meet our culinary expert for a stroll through Ortygia's bustling food market. Having worked with many expert chefs across Europe and now owning his own restaurant he brings international experience to the Sicilian cultural food scene. Under his guidance we sample the local produce in preparation for a private cooking class in his restaurant. In the afternoon we will explore the city’s long history and visit the Syracuse Archaeological Park before taking a walking tour of the temples, churches, graceful town-squares and meandering streets of the historic centre as the sun sets. An evening free to explore and dine.
Day 4: The day begins with a tour of the beautiful baroque town of Noto, followed by a visit to the Villa del Tellaro. Surrounded by vineyards the villa contains renowned and fascinating mosaics. Later we head to an artisanal Almond and Ricotta Cheese Farm were the owner has devoted himself to traditional farming methods. We take an exclusive tour, watch the cheese making and the grinding of the almonds to make almond milk before experiencing a true, rustic Sicilian lunch. In the afternoon we head for Ragusa, check in to our hotel and take an early-evening stroll around the historic centre of Ragusa Ibla before an evening free to dine at your leisure.
Day 5: A day to delight the senses begins with a walking tour of the Historical Centre of Scicli, and a visit to a beautiful herb farm for an aromatic tour that will inspire cooks and gardeners alike. The visit will conclude with a tasting lunch, on a terrace overlooking the beautiful southern coast. In the afternoon we will stroll through the streets of Modica and witness a demonstration of traditional Modicano chocolate making, with plenty of opportunity to taste the many delicious flavours and a variety of other delectable temptations. In the late afternoon we return to Ragusa. There is time to wander or rest before dinner in the historic centre.
Day 6: We journey to Vittoria to visit a fabulous winery where the owners have spent the last decade rediscovering the 'Ancient Grains' of Sicily. This devotion to returning to the healthy and wholesome approach, so much the backbone of Sicilian food culture, shows us techniques that are steeped in the history of the island. After a tour of the vineyards where the wines are produced using traditional methods and aged in clay amphorae, we meet up with our expert chef and roll up our sleeves for a pasta and bread making cooking class followed by a splendid lunch. After lunch we continue on to Mt Etna and check into our hotel. Dinner that evening is at a restaurant on the slopes of Etna.
Day 7: We spend the morning walking on Mt. Etna in the company of an expert volcanologist. We'll stroll through verdant woods of pine and silver birch before ascending to a lunar landscape of lava flows and ash filled craters with incredible views all around. Afterwards we visit a local winery to enjoy a rustic lunch and sample the award-winning wines that thrive on Etna’s slopes in the company of an expert Sommelier. A last chance to relax, then a sumptuous farewell dinner.
Day 8: Transfer to Catania airport, about an hour away.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Catania (Fontanarossa)
Departure Airport - Catania (Fontanarossa)
Check in time at your hotel in Syracuse is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives mid to late afternoon on Sept 23rd. Check out time from your hotel on September 30th is 11:00 am. We will arrange a local transfer from Catania airport on the afternoon of the 23rd and to Catania airport on the morning of the 30th.
The cheapest way to book flights is with the airline online.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits. If you would prefer not to take out travel insurance please let us know. We would require you to complete and return to us a travel insurance waiver form.