Why Sicily?

Taormina, Sicily Italian Tours

When you think of Sicily your mind might conjure up images of Don Corleone and other characters that live on in your memory from the Hollywood version of the God Father trilogy, but I want to introduce you to another side of Sicily, one that you have probably not been exposed to before.

Sicily, the Mediterranean’s largest island measures 9,926 square miles, also known as Trinacria for its 3 corners. The

Italian Tours
Let us open the door to
Sicily for you!

symbol for Trinacria (shown above) is known to exist before the 3rd century B.C., centuries after evidence of the first settlers arrived nearly 3000 years ago. It shows 3 legs of a woman and the head of Medusa, whose hair was turned into snakes by the outraged goddess Athena. The Sicilian parliament modified the original Medusa head with one that is less threatening and mounted the symbol on a red and yellow background to be used as the Sicilian flag. The 3 points of the island are dominated by the cities of Messina on the Northeastern corner, Trapani on the Western corner and

Taormina, Sicily - Italian Tours
Local fishing boats
Italian Fountain - Italian Tours
Italian Fountain

Siracusa on the Southeastern corner. Each area has a unique character and flavor of its own, dependant upon which and where the ancient conquerors made their seat. The Trapani area has a strong Spanish and Arab influence, Messina first settled by the ancient Siculans was influenced by the Greeks, Persians and finally the Romans, and Siracusa mentioned in the Bible in Acts of the Apostles, noted for its rich Greek history was once aligned with Sparta. Sicily’s location has long been its blessing and its curse. Separated from mainstream European life by the sea and a tumultuous history that has left monuments of a glorious past, resulting in a society rich in a myriad of pleasures.

I find the Sicilians fiercely proud people and am never really sure if they consider themselves to be Italians or are just suffering another invasion. What I have observed is that they are a close knit group but are able to get along with most anyone and are very welcoming to new comers. They have a silent code of ethics that they live by, one that I find refreshing and old fashioned at the same time.  Since I love food and am particularly interested in the culture of food we share the same interest. To a Sicilian wine is an important part of the meal and is rarely drank alone.  Sicilian wine is designed to be consumed with food.


So, Why Sicily?

Perhaps Goethe said is best; “ To have seen Italy without seeing Sicily” he wrote, “is not to have seen Italy at all - for Sicily is the key to everything.” I wholeheartedly concur.  Earthy

Cooking Tours in Sicily
Sicilian Chef

romanticism, beautiful climate and vistas, ancient art and architecture, delicious foods, interesting wines, friendly welcoming people, all this at prices that are less than usual for mainland Italy, what’s not to like. Oh, and of course I’ll be waiting there to welcome you and share my passion for this special spot in the world. How can you resist all this? You know seeing the world presents a whole new perspective for life, so what are you waiting for? Give us a call or send an email and leave all the details to us. You deserve it!

Sicilian Food

Sicily has a fiery passion about it, a vivacity and spirit that extends from the topof Mount Etna, to the waters that surround the island, to the hearts of its people; a land like no other; a world and entity unto itself.  Once upon a time it was home to a Greek colony, a Roman province, an Arab emirate, and a Norman kingdom. Each group has left behind traces of their presence for your visual and tasting pleasure.  Known in ancient times as the bread basket of Europe, Sicilian cuisine is a blend of sun and sea. Ahh… the divine food of the sea!! By combining Italian elements influenced by the subtleties of Spanish and French cuisine, then seasoned with Arab and Greek spices turns their “pesce e crostacei” dishes into the world's tastiest seafood.

9

Delicious plate of mixta pesce
fritto con limone

Sicily Cooking Tours

Market Melanzana

But it doesn’t stop there Sicilian Focacia similar to pizza on the mainland is crunchy and sauced to perfection and the eggplant dishes… “Forget about it“  here you’ll see a market photo of the many varieties available  each one waiting to evolve into  an unforgettable treat and a delicious plate of mixta pesce fritto con limone.                       
    
And now for La Dolce Vita  …the sweet life

cannoli
Sicilian Ceramics with Marzipan, Cassata, Cannoli  and Biscotti

During your Spirit of Italy adventure you may begin to hear the real songs of the Sirens, begging you to capitulate and indulge in the delicious temptations that await you. Beguiling you with endless displays of cookies filled with pureed almonds or various marmalades, unbelievably realistic fruit and vegetable marzipans fashioned out of almond paste, candied lemon or orange slices dipped in chocolate, the world famous Sicilian cannoli filled with sweetened ricotta served plain or with bits of candied fruit, slivers of chocolate or dipped in fresh crushed pistachios from the village of Bronte and of course gelatos to numerous to mention.

13
Fresh fruits at the market

Sicilian desserts range in flavor from slightly bitter to sweet but usually not overwhelmingly sweet and are often best served with a “forte” cup of caffe’ or ‘un piccolo” glass of Vino.

 

However if indulgent desserts are not your thing, keep in mind that many Sicilians prefer fresh fruit after a meal. A large bowl of dewdrop fresh cherries or succulent peaches placed on your table to be savored with a dessert wine or maybe you’ll surrender to just one of those…. luscious fruit tarts.

 Sicilian Wine
15
 
Italian wine is served with every meal

 

 

 

 

 


Italian Wine Tours
Vineyard

Italian Wine Tours
Vineyard Facilities

Italian Wine Tours

Archaeologist suggest that wine has been made in Sicily since at least 1400 B.C. , though it was the Normans who established viticulture as an enduring part of the islands economy. In the past the intense sun, long summers and high dependable yields meant wines were produced for quantity not quality.  What wasn’t drank locally was sent to Europe to cut the weaker wines of France and northern Italy boosting their color and alcohol content.  More recently, there has been a dramatic change in Sicilian winemaking. Modern techniques of viticulture and viniculture have been introduced and the island is now one of the world’s most exciting wine destinations. European and other wine companies are clamoring to buy land and plant vineyards on Sicilian soil. Vines are pruned to improve grape quality, grapes are harvested early or at night to retain flavor and fresh grapes are stored in cool vats to prevent early fermentation. Some local grapes are being combined with international staples to create superior wines. This began at first with the white varieties but now the reds are overtaking the whites, with the basis for improvement being the same.; blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot and Merlot grapes with traditional Sicilian varieties.

These new wines do not obscure the virtues of established Sicilian wines such as Nero d’Avola, Bianco d’Alcamo and Cerasulo di Vittoria but are gaining popularity and going up in price accordingly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marsala wine acquired a bad name after large outside companies bought up most of the quality wineries and began producing an inferior product. Luckily for me Marsala (one of my favorites) has had resurgence with fine, dry, smooth sherry - like wine now being produced. Look for labels like Florio, Pellegrino, Marco de Bartoli and the older version Vergine.   Don’t forget the dessert wines produced from vines growing in the rich volcanic soils. These are some of the best wines of their type in the world. Try Moscato di Pantelleria or Malvasia di Lipari for an unforgettable after-dinner experience.

****************************


 

Italian Food Tours
Spirit of Italy!
 
 

Spirit of Italy has chosen to concentrate on representing smaller wineries for import into the USA. We are personally visiting, award winning small wineries to select wines for upscale restaurants and boutique wine shops, these wine varieties as well as high quality olive oil , honey packaged in Sicilian pottery and  Sicilian salt from the Trapani area packaged in unique salt cellars will all be available on our web site in the very near future. 

 

 

Italian Tours
Spirit of Italy LLC

Phone: 305.775.8949
Website: www.SpiritOfItaly.net
Email: info@spiritofitaly.net