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.
Day 2: The day begins with a walk through the Pantalica Valley Necropolis, one of Sicily’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites: a place of great natural beauty where winding pathways edged with autumn flowers lead to a myriad of rock-cut tombs carved into the cliff faces. Lunch is a series of local delicacies, olive oil, honey and preserves produced at a nearby farmhouse. We return to Ortygia in the late afternoon and, after a brief rest, enjoy a Sicilian wine-tasting aperitivo with a local Sommelier.
Day 3: We stroll through Ortygia’s bustling food market, sampling the local produce in preparation for a cooking class in a local 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 a renowned local olive farm for a tasting session and lunch. In the afternoon we head for Ragusa and check in to our hotel (where we will be staying for the next two nights) and take an early-evening stroll around the historic centre of Ragusa Ibla before participating in a cooking-demonstration dinner.
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. An evening free to relax, explore Ragusa Ibla and dine at leisure.
Day 6: We journey into the interior of Sicily to visit another of Sicily’s UNESCO Heritage sites, the Villa Romana del Casale in Piazza Armerina, home to some of the best preserved and extensive mosaics in Sicily, including the world-famous ‘bikini girls’. After lunch we continue on to Taormina, perched high above the sea with magnificent views across sweeping bays and over to Mt. Etna; our next day’s destination. An evening free to explore and dine.
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 shop in Taormina, then a sumptuous farewell dinner.
Day 8: Transfer to Catania airport, about an hour away.
Arrival and Departure Information for our Gastronomic tour of Sicily
Arrival Airport - Catania (Fontanarossa)
Departure Airport - Catania (Fontanarossa)
Check in time at your hotel in Syracuse, Sicily is after 14:00 so we recommend choosing a flight that arrives mid to late afternoon on Sept 24th. Check out time from your hotel on October 1st is 11:00am. We will arrange local transfers from Catania airport on the 24th and to Catania airport on the 1st.
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.