Savor Sicily's Culinary Delights
October 16-24, 2021
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 9 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!
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.
8 PM: Group Welcome dinner at an authentic local restaurant.
Day 2, Sunday October 17th:
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, Monday October 18th:
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.
Day 5, Wednesday October 20th:
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, Thursday October 21st:
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, Friday October 22nd:
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 Daniela and her family's daily life, you will 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.
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.