The island has always been famous for its agriculture, Sicily is the main supplier of citrus fruits in Europe, unique wines are produced here from rare varieties of grapes, including those grown on the black volcanic soils of Etna, olive oil, which is loved by chefs all over the world, fruits are grown, cereals. The island is also famous for the gifts of fishing, animal husbandry, the production of cheeses, and rare honey.
Wine – gastronomic trip to Sicily
Participants of the program will visit local wineries known for their unique style, as well as get acquainted with the most famous Sicilian culinary specialists. Rare, unique wines, traditional and creative cuisine, a boat trip along the Cyclops cliffs, vineyards on the slopes of Mount Etna, excursions to Taormina and Syracuse, a trip to the filming locations of “The Godfather” – this is just a small part of what will make this the trip is absolutely unforgettable.
Every day we will make new discoveries, meet striking characters, taste the best wine and gastronomic combinations and enjoy the landscapes that UNESCO considers the heritage of mankind. Here is a list of the names of family producers who will be happy to welcome us:
|• Frank Cornelissen||• Graci|
|• Vinicola Benanti||• Tenuta Terre Nerre|
|• Villa Grande||• Girolamo Russo|
|• Pupillo Wines|
Day 1 (October 19th): Arrival in Sicily, Catania
Arrival in Catania
Riga – Rome – Catania
13:35 – 18:00
An introductory walk through the wide streets and squares of Catania.
Catania was founded by the ancient Sicilian tribe Sicans around the 12th century BC, after which it was visited by the Romans, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Normans, and Aragonese rulers. Neighborhood with Etna was not always peaceful – in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, the city was badly damaged by an earthquake and had to be rebuilt almost from scratch. The result exceeded expectations in beauty – Catania became one of the pearls of the Baroque style. It is especially interesting that black volcanic stone was used in the construction.
Accommodation in a Mediterranean style hotel at the foot of Mount Etna: Esperia Palace Hotel 4 *
The hotel chosen for the trip to Etna is located in the prestigious area of Zafferana Etnea. This town is also called the “Honey City”, as it is the center of honey production located right on the slopes of the volcano. The hotel is owned by Ence Kutuli, the most successful business woman in Sicily.
Gastronomic dinner at the hotel with the chef Sebastiano Sorbello at his restaurant Sebyr Gurmandelli
Sorbello, the star of “volcanic” cuisine, is one of the most dynamic and renowned chefs in Sicily, organizer of gastronomic festivals in Taormina and Etna, and also President of the Etna Chefs Association. The owner of the hotel, Enza Kutuli, is Sebastiano’s mother. It was she who gave him the love for Sicilian cuisine. Signora Kutuli hosted one of the culinary shows in Rome for a long time, together with one of the stars of television.
Day 2 (20th October): Etna Vineyard Day
Visit to the extraordinary Frank Cornelissen winery
The story of Frank Cornelissen, who decided to become a winemaker on Etna, is a story about how the most incredible dreams come true. Leaving his native Belgium, he moved high into the Sicilian mountains, determined to revolutionize the local winemaking. The locals looked at him as if he were crazy, but the newcomer northerner decided to introduce them to his philosophy. Cornelissen wines are one of the most unusual and modern views on the history of Etna winemaking. And without him, his neighbors no longer represent the territory. As if he had always lived here.
On the way, we will stop at Dzafferan for a tasting of local honey
Lemon, orange, chestnut honey (there are special chestnuts on Etna!), Pistachio-honey cream and many other specialties will impress those with a sweet tooth.
Visit to the unique Graci winery
Winery Cantina Graci is located on the northern slope of Etna, where winemaking has existed for many centuries. Alberto’s family history is similar to that of most of the neighbors. Here, many work with classic local grape varieties, but Alberto, unlike others, managed to create bright, memorable wines in a short time. Graci works with large, traditional tino barrels. Since the beginning of its work, since 2004, the company has reached high positions and is the star of modern Sicilian winemaking.
Visit to the Vinicola Benanti winery
Meeting with our friend, charismatic Antonio Benanti. He will personally show the vineyards, take a tour of the winery and lead a wine tasting with a volcanic character from local grape varieties found only on the slopes of Etna: Carricante, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Vinicola Benanti is one of the three best wine producers on Etna and one of the first to revive winemaking from local, authentic grape varieties. Despite the fact that it is always “like on a volcano”, the Benanti family were able to show the world the true potential of Sicilian wines!
Continuing the visit, Antonio Benanti invites us to a homemade dinner at the winery, in his family’s home, where we will taste the local specialties combined with Etna’s mineral wines
Day 3 (October 21st): Sicilian cuisine and Taormina
Master class with Pietro d’Agostino (holder of 1 Michelin star)
Under the guidance of the maestro, we will cook 4 dishes from local products, we will be able to personally enjoy the talented work of the chef himself, ask any questions about cooking and learn a lot of interesting things about local products. This is a great opportunity to spy on and learn the secrets of a professional kitchen. After working together in aprons, we will have a meal of a prepared fish menu with local wines.
Walk through the historic center of Taormina resort
Taormina is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Its ancient theater, which hosted Greek performances and Roman performances, is considered one of the symbols of the coast. The city is called the Sicilian Monte Carlo, because its colorful streets and squares annually host some of the most famous film, theater, gastronomic and fashion festivals in the world. A walk to all the main attractions is planned, as well as some free time to buy souvenirs. Taormina is home to renowned shops specializing in jewelry, ceramics and lace.
In the evening we will move to the new Hotel Caparena
The hotel is right on the coast with spectacular views – the perfect place for romantics to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets of the sea.
Day 4 (October 22nd): Etna vineyards
Visit to Tenuta Terre Nerre winery
An ambitious and popular winery producing wine from very old prefelloxera vines. Terre Nere is located on Etna, between Sollikyata and Randazzo, where the great red Sicilian wines are born. 27 hectares of vineyards in 4 prestigious areas. Few can boast of the presence of old vines 50-100 years old, and even more so dophiloxerous vines that have overcome the boundary of 130-140 years. Here wines from Nerello Mascalese can absolutely definitely be called Etna’s diary, vineyards have been observing its history over the years.
Lunch and tasting in the picturesque vineyards of the Villa Grande estate
On this day, guests will be able to get acquainted with another unique wine-making company of the real Sicilian barons of Villagrande – the Nicolosi family. It is one of the oldest companies on Etna, dating back to the 17th century, and the history of the family itself dates back to the 15th century on the coast of Aci, in the Catania region. The barons are some of the most important innovators in Sicily. The winery still has old chestnut barrels, traditional for Etna. In addition to the main line of wines and vineyards on the volcano, Nicolosi also has vineyards on the island of Lipari, where Malvasia and Corinto Nero grapes grow, from which a dessert wine is made using the passito method – one of the rarest Italian wines. We will taste the results of the winemakers’ work during lunch, and then visit the production itself.
Visit to the winery Girolamo Russo
Like Nerello Mascalese, Giuseppe Russo was born on the slopes of Mount Etna. Almost all his adult life, he dreamed of becoming a winemaker. In 2005, the dream came true. The company founded by Giuseppe was named after his father, Girolamo. Only 15 hectares, a young winery, but amazing results from the very beginning and keen interest from all wine lovers and specialists.
Day 5 (October 23rd): Syracuse and “in the footsteps of Don Corleone”
Transfer to the city of Syracuse with a walk through the historic center.
Syracuse is the most famous city of Ancient Greece, many Greek philosophers and scientists, including Archimedes, lived and worked here. Few realize that Syracuse was by no means in Greece, but in Sicily. The Greeks left behind a huge number of historical monuments of world importance. The oldest part of the city is Ortigia Island, where a fresh stream of water and the sea merge, a unique papyrus grows, which, apart from Egypt, does not take root anywhere. It was on this island that the Syracuse Cathedral was built on the basis of the Greek temple of Athena.
Lunch at Pupillo Wines with local wine tasting.
The old Pupillo family of lawyers is very famous in Syracuse. It was they who revived the white Syracuse nutmeg. In addition to wines, the company is engaged in the cultivation of citrus fruits (Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello – the business card of Syracuse), vegetables (unique Syracuse potatoes), and also produces olive oil. Here we can have lunch and visit the Solatium castle with a historic garden and old cellars.
In the footsteps of Don Corleone
Then we will go “in the footsteps of Don Corleone”, a walk through the ancient villages: Castelmola, Forza d’Agro, Savoca. These locations have become the filming locations of “The Godfather”, which are some of the most beautiful panoramic points on the coast. It was here that many European photographers and artists worked, capturing the beauty of the Sicilian mountains and the sea. Francis Ford Coppola was born in the Palermo area. When he was deciding where to shoot the film, he hesitated between his native places and the above-mentioned villages. Their beauty prevailed and the director made them famous.
The final, solemn, dinner will be spent in one of the most famous restaurants in Sicily “San Domenico Palace” with the star chef Massimo Mantarro (2 Michelin stars). This place is also famous for the fact that Dolce & Gabbana catalogs are filmed here.
Day 6 (October 24th): Boat trip and return to Riga.
Say goodbye to Sicily on an easy boat ride along the coast of the Cyclops. With us, of course, we will take sparkling wine and fruits. In good weather there will be an opportunity to swim in the open sea and grottoes.
Catania – Rome – Riga
15:05 – 22:00
Wine Tour Information
The tour is scheduled for October 19-24, 2016 with a departure from Riga. Tour cost: 2400 EUR for one person. The trip is provided for a group of 10-12 people
|The program includes:||В программу не входит:|
|• Flight Riga-Rome – Catania-Riga in economy class.||• Insurance.|
|• Hand luggage and 1 piece of luggage up to 20 kg.||• Expenses outside the program.|
|• Visit and wine tasting at wineries.||• Personal expenses.|
|• Services of an English and Russian speaking guide.||• Accommodation in a single room|
|• Transfer according to the program.||• Cost of lunches and dinners outside the program|
|• The cost of lunches and dinners in the restaurant (partly with wine).|
• Accommodation in a double room.
If you are interested in this trip, please contact our sommelier Irina Semochkina to discuss further details.
Sommelier / Wine Consultant
21a Elizabetes Street, Riga,