A holiday in Sicily is a trip among unique tastes and a culture of taste. An art of taste that over the centuries has captivated peoples and enchanted all of the Mediterranean. What more could you ask of your holiday?
The volcanic soil of Mount Etna is particularly fertile and prosperous: fruits, vegetables and other typical products harvested around the Etna Park are famous worldwide for their unique and exquisite taste, and local administration strives to value and protect these precious delicacies. A visit to this lovely area of Sicily is not complete without a wine and food experience discovering the genuine fruits of this florid territory.
Plenty of our Eastern Sicily villas include wine tasting in local cellars: producers are always happy to share a glass of wine matched with delicious meat-based appetizers. Why? Because they know that once you’ve tasted a drop of wine from the grapevines of Milo, Castiglione di Sicilia, Randazzo, Linguaglossa and more… You’ll have to take home as much bottles as you can! Sicilian wines are particularly appreciated worldwide, and the appreciation for Etna wines keeps growing year after year as well. Most delicious local grape varieties include Nerello Mascalese, the most common within the area of the volcano, Nerello Cappuccio, a red one as well, Carricante, a white grape that can exclusively be found on Mount Etna, and Minnella, a white one as well. The whole Etna Park is rich in local “agriturismo” and cellars producing delicious Etna Rosso, Bianco, Rosé: you surely won’t be disappointed.
Plenty of orchards can be found on the flanks of the volcano and the surrounding area as well. The apples from Etna are particularly famous, and more than one local annual feast is dedicated to the celebration of this delicious fruit, often used to cook yummy cakes and sweets or even jam; other tasteful fruits include oranges, lemons, cherries and strawberries.
Together with wines, however, there is one main protagonist among the wide variety of delicious typical products from Eastern Sicily: we are talking about pistachio nuts. Bronte, a lovely small town in the Park of Etna, is one of the most important producers of pistachios in the world: and the “Green gold of Sicily”, as locals use to call this delicious fruit, has been certified as an Ark of Taste food and a PDO food. If you happen to be in this area of Sicily during early October, you’ll have the chance to attend the annual Pistachio Festival: a lively and cheerful event attracting visitors from all over Italy, with plenty of live shows and performers and – of course – the pistachio from Bronte and all its possible uses in cooking.
From pistachio-flavoured ice-cream to the famous “pesto di pistacchi”, an outstanding seasoning for pasta; from pistachio sweet cream (those who have tasted it claim it’s even better than the most famous hazelnut and cocoa cream) to pistachio-flavoured chocolate from Modica (is there a more extraordinary combination of flavours anyway?)… and beyond: Sicilians love to use pistachio sauce as a seasoning for swordfish, or a stuffing for calamari, and much much more. Is your mouth drying? Don’t worry: these recipes are well-known to every true Sicilian family all over the island, and you won’t have any trouble finding them in the menu of any restaurant from Trapani to Syracuse.
However, if you do come by in Autumn, there are other fairs we recommend if you are looking for an authentic gourmet experience: the “Ottobrata Zafferanese” takes place every weekend in October in Zafferana Etnea, as does “Ottobrando” in Floresta, the highest village of Sicily. Both events celebrate the most delicious typical products of the area: from chestnuts to honey, from Etna wines to apples, from provola cheese to olive oil (try the one from Ragalna!).