Savor Sicily's Culinary Delights

October 6-14, 2020

Traveling to Sicily immerses you in a symphony of flavors. The food, the scenery, and the people are unique in thousands of ways. Sicily is a stunning seaside gem -- both in the center of the Mediterranean Sea and an island unto itself. Old and the new mingle here, inviting you to wonder “Can't I just move here?”

For 10 days, you'll savor food and wine in the company of Ric Orlando, a professional Italian chef. Most of all, you'll connect with the locals who call this idyllic isle home.

What makes this food-filled trip so priceless? The delicious memories you'll make with real Sicilians -- including learning family recipes and tasting hand-made cheese!

This tour is perfect for  travelers who love to connect with others over great food and wine. You’ll make cannoli with Italian nonnas, you’ll sip wine in ancient cellars and you’ll taste olive oil in the groves where it’s grown.
 
Day 1, Tuesday October 6th:
Arrival in Sicily & Welcome Dinner
 
TAORMINA-1
Whether you fly into Palermo or Catania, you'll check in to the Hotel Villa Schuler in Taormina by late afternoon. The Hotel Villa Schuler will be our home base for the first 4 days in Sicily. This family-run hotel --  overlooking the salt-kissed Bay of Naxos -- is simply extraordinary -- vaunting epic sea views, comfortable rooms and genuine Italian hospitality. 
 
6 PM: Meet and greet at Hotel Villa Schuler, overlooking the sapphire sea short and Mount Etna in the distance.

8 PM: Group Welcome dinner at an authentic local restaurant.

Day 2, Wednesday October 7th:
Mt. Etna Crater, Farm-Style Lunch & Winery Visit
 
Etna_Volcano
After breakfast at the Hotel Schuler, you will be transported in comfort to the snow-dusted summit of Mt. Etna -- Europe's largest active volcano. Once arrived at Mt. Etna, we will explore the mountain's craggy craters in jeeps and ride the cable car to the top of Mt. Etna. We will then enjoy an authentic lunch at a local hazelnut farm -- savoring a true taste of Sicilian farm-to-table fare. During our return trip to Taormina, we will go behind-the-scenes at a family-owned winery on the mineral-rich slopes of Etna. The Etna volcano produces some of Sicily's most prized varietals, including the famous Etna Rosso wine. You will then return to Taormina for a relaxing evening on your own.

Day 3, Thursday October 8th:
Catania Food Market & Fresh Pasta-Making Class
 
orecchiette_pasta
 
Today, we will transfer by private bus to Catania, where my Sicilian friend, Chef Loredana, will bring our group inside the vibrant (and delicious) Cantania Food Market -- one of the liveliest open-air daily markets in all of Italy. Together, we'll hunt for the freshest of ingredients for our authentic cooking class with Loredana. You'll learn to make fresh cavatelli and many other Southern Italian dishes -- all based on what is freshest that day in the market. The dishes we create will be our delicious Sicilian lunch -- so be prepared to eat molto! After our class and meal, we'll return to Taormina, where you'll have the evening at leisure to explore the city on your own. 
                                                
Day 4, Friday October 9th:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Agrigento  
 
Agrigento_Valley of the Temples-1

After breakfast, pack your bags and say arrivederci to Taormina. Today, we head to the western side of the island -- exploring an area known as Agrigento. Along the way, we will stop at Palma di Montechiaro and visit a local olive oil farm -- where sun-nourished olives are pressed into extra virgin liquid gold. You'll have the chance to taste the authentic extra virgin oil for lunch.
 
After lunch, we’ll transport you to “The Valley of the Temples” in Agrigento. We will walk among Greek temples erected over 2000 years ago. The Valley of the Temples is one of the most outstanding examples of Greater Greek art -- representing one of the main historical attractions in all of Sicily. After our tour of the Valley of the Temples, we will head by private vans to our next accommodation: the Hotel Luna Minoica. . . just a quick walk from the beach. The Luna Minoica will be our home for the next 2 nights. We will enjoy a memorable dinner at our friends' restaurant on the beach.

Day 5, Saturday October 10th:
Village Experience in Sant’Angelo Muxaro
 
Sicani
Today will be one of the highlights of your trip. After breakfast at our inn, we will visit my friend Pier Filippo Spoto for a true farm-fresh agriturismo experience. Pier Filippo will introduce us the the local artisanal foods of a tiny hilltop village. As we walk the town's stone streets, we'll meet the sheep whose milk makes the hamlet's fresh ricotta. You’ll be in awe by the city's take on “sfincione” -- a fluffy Sicilian pizza topped in local cheese and farm-fresh vegetables. 
We will then head back to our accommodation and spend our evening at leisure.

                                                   Day 6, Sunday October 11th:
Glorious Seaside Cefalù
 
Sicily_Seaside_Couple-1
Cefalù is a coastal city in northern Sicily. It’s known for its Norman cathedral, a 12th-century fortress-like structure with elaborate Byzantine mosaics and soaring twin towers. We will enjoy a delightful walking tour of the old city. (Bring a bathing suit -- if the weather is agreeable, you can take a dip in the sapphire seas here!). Near Cefalù, we will relish a wine tasting and lunch at Santa Anastasia Vineyard -- which produces some of the Island’s finest Nero D’Avola reds. (Cefalu is also the city Ric's mother’s family, the Fertitas, are from). In the evening, we will head to Palermo and check into our next accommodation. 

Day 7, Monday October 12th:
Farm Experience at Monte Jato and Monreale
 
Monreale
After breakfast, we will be transferred to a small family run farm in the mountains of Palermo to experience a stunning day with the owners.
After experiencing Paola and her family's daily life, you'll knead your own "muffulette" bread  -- firing the loaves in a traditional stone oven. Lastly, you will savor a family-style Sicilian banquet lunch, featuring dairy products and other delicacies produced by this friendly local family. 
 
After lunch, we will head to Monreale to visit one of Sicily's most glorious Arab-Norman architectural marvels: the gold-domed cathedral of Monreale and its cloisters-- adorned with sculpted columns and ornate capitals. Enjoy dinner on your own in Palermo in the evening.

Day 8, Tuesday October 13th:
Palermo and Cooking Class
 
Palermo_Street_Market-2
Today will will savor a fascinating tour of the city of Palermo, including its stunning Opera House and 1,000-year-old churches. We will then enjoy light lunch in the open-air Lo Capo Market, enjoying the bounty of Sicilian street food. The city of Palermo was named the “Italian Capital of Culture” in 2018 by Italy’s Ministry of Culture, following the city’s selection as host for the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.
 
After lunching with my friends at the Capo Market, you'll have time to explore Palermo on your own. Don’t eat too much more because in the afternoon we will meet up again for a hands-on cooking class in the Old Town -- enjoying panelle (chickpea fritters), pasta with sardines and wild fennel, cannoli (filled pastries) and other Palermo delicacies during our farewell group dinner at our chef's home!
 
Day 9, Wednesday October 14th:
Check out of Hotel & Departure
 
Check out of your hotel in the morning and proceed to the airport or your next destination. Say arrivederci (until we see each other again!) to the stunning heart of Sicily.
 
For full details (including pricing), please fill out the form to the right.