Dreaming Of Sicily
~ Palermo & Taormina

Ciao 2016! We have great things cooking in our kitchen this year including fabulous new cooking tours, more rising star Chefs, loving nonnas in the kitchen and delicious new recipes.

Meanwhile, we invite you to join us on our new  Tasting Two Cities ~ Palermo & Taormina cooking program that will have you in the kitchen cooking like a Sicilian mamma. This specially designed cooking tour introduces you to some of the island's best-loved cuisine, street food and one-of-a-kind Sicilian desserts. Tie on your apron, hope you've eaten your lentils for the New Year, and join us for a fun-filled food trip with Cooking Vacations!

Buon appetito!
  Table Talk
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Palermo, Sicily's vibrant capital, is the Teatro Massimo, where the climax of The Godfather classic culminates with a gunshot on the theatre's front steps. But Palermo is also famous for its take on a classic Sicilian dessert - cannoli the size of Al Pacino's fists. Often dipped in chocolate or sprinkled with pistachios, these extra-large versions of the world-renowned favorite provide a sweet ending after a tasting of Palermo's famous fried street-food. And while the city is certainly chic with the times, the marble statues and grand palaces towering above the sidewalk offer a window to the ancient world, reminding us that with each new year, Sicily maintains its traditional elegance fit for a Norman King.
Take a walk down the palm tree-lined Via Vittorio Emanuele, and you'll stumble upon Palazzo dei Normanni, the 10th-century Norman Palace decorated with intricate Byzantine mosaics and pale frescoes along the inner walls. Walk west of the palace and you'll find Pasticceria Cappello, Palermo's renowned pastry shop. Here you can taste cassata siciliana, a rum-soaked sponge cake layered with ricotta cheese and topped with marzipan and candied fruits as colorful as the mosaics themselves. Under the blazing afternoon sun, you cannot skip a small scoop of granita, shaved ice flavored with mulberry or pistachio grown just outside the city.
For the lighter side - though only in texture - seek a slice of torta setteveli, rightfully named 'the cake of seven veils.' The airy layers of chocolate and hazelnut ricotta contrast with a crunchy pistachio layer, offering a variety of textures. Regional fresh oranges and cherries, honey in glass jars and almonds brought by the Arabs a millennia ago are the coveted ingredients in all Sicilian pastry. Venture into any local pasticceria and you'll spot tiny cookies flavored with almond flour laid in neat rows and frutti di bosco, fresh local fruit garnishing every springtime pastry. No matter what the season, Palermo is a city where history and local resources converge, whisking you away to a time when Arab, Norman and Roman cultures first converged in Sicily. 

What's Cooking
Join in hands-on cooking classes, food touring, landmark visits to the heart of Sicily's two colorful cities, Palermo and Taormina
Our Palermo & Taormina Cooking & Cannolis ~ A Taste Of Two Cities gives you the option to cook and tour with the finest food purveyors and chefs in either both cities or just one city (choose Palermo or Taormina or extend your stay to include both). This combined tour gives you a taste of city and sea, cooking with Chef Paolo in Palermo and Chef Mimo in Taormina, experiencing the contrasts of regional Sicilian food on the wonderful island of Sicily.

Recipes From Our Kitchen


Sicilian Caponata 
~ Eggplant Relish


Fettuccine Di Carciofi 
 ~ Fettucine with Baby Artichokes & Parma Ham 

Get the Recipe


Cassata Siciliana
~Sweet Ricotta Cake 
Sip & Swirl
For January 2016 

This month we take you to the vineyards of Donnafugata. Donnafugata , translates to woman in flight or woman fleeing , a name that salutes Sicilian history and literature in the famous novel, The Leopard , Il Gattopardo, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa .
The book's plot descibes the the fate of Queen Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who fled Naples in the early 1800s on the arrival of Napoleon's troops, seeking refuge in this part of Sicily where the vineyards are today. This estate was where the queen stayed, and it now holds the winery's vineyards. Its vines continue to produce excellent wines. All of the Donnafugata wines are highly recommended and we suggest you start sipping with these

The Sedara pairs well with all Sicilian first courses, with meat sauces, baked pasta dishes and red meats - even seared tuna steak..

Excellent as an aperitif, and a perfect match with raw seafood antipasti, flash fried calamari, and any fresh seasonal salads. A versatile wine, ideal for parties and other festive gatherings.

A soft, warm red with a medium body, this wine is perfect with soft cheeses.

With Love From Italy

  Sweet Sicily 
The Sicilian cassatina is an adorable take on the Sicilian cassata, a candied sponge cake found throughout the island. These smaller versions of the Sicilian favorite are dipped in icing and topped with a cherry, while their pale green color will delight your eyes. Pasticceria Alba sells a variety of Sicilian pastries online, shipping internationally to Canada and the United States. All desserts are handmade in Palermo. Sicilian Cassatine, Pasticceria Alba; order by request. 
On-line at:  www.pasticceriaalba.it

Southern Moda    
 Tie on a leather belt from Sicily, and you'll be reminded of the island's elegance and traditions from the mainland. Handcrafted in red, orange and various shades of brown, this modern take on an Italian classic is handmade in Taormina, on the east coast of Sicily. A great gift for both men and women alike!
The Famous Chocolate of Modica     
 Warm up your winter with a delicious piece of specialty chocolate from Modica.  This chocolate finds its origin in the marvelous, civilization of the Aztecs, and is still made with traditional antique methods. Bonajuto's chocolate is made only with a mixture of cocoa, sugar and spices. Try the dark chocolate with vanilla and cinnamon that can be eat in squares or melted in a cup.
Go to: www.bonajuto.it 

Italy On A Plate

Flavors Of The Season
By Germaine Stafford

Germaine continues her roundup of what's happening in the culinary world in Italy and gives you her chef of the month, book recommendation, and a list of seasonal foods for January and February.
What's in Season?  
Pork, Octopus, Cod, Cuttlefish, Sea Bream, Baccalà, Swiss chard, Cabbage, Parsnips, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli rabe , Beetroot, Leeks, Celeriac, Fennel, Apples, Pears, Oranges, Lemons

Sapori Perduti 
A local dining spot that embraces the lost flavors of Sicilian cuisine, Sapori Perduti cherishes local flavors such as fennel and fresh ricotta, pumpkin and cauliflower, while adding notes of Palermo's lemons and oranges to lighten offerings from of the kitchen. Located in Politeama, the center of Palermo's art movement and home to a growing population of restauranteurs, this eatery serves baccalà, fresh salted cod, sheep's milk ricotta with gnocchi, garlic sardines or rosemary beef fillet to name but a few. Enjoy a plate of handmade ravioli with baby artichokes and cherry tomatoes, or the classic Sicilian cassata modernized in a parfait-style and topped with a rich chocolate sauce. The chef adds creative, lost flavors of Sicily to his cuisine, with bursts of orange, yellow and green on every plate. Sweet and sour pumpkin with caper sauce, bottarga and fresh beds of rocket only begin the rainbow!
For heartier fare, choose from a four course dinner with a variety of seafood antipasti, potato gnocchi with pecorino fondue, or pasta with swordfish, a fine plate of salted cod or peppered pork fillet, and end with a dessert of scomposta di cannoli, tortino caldo or a warm gelato-topped waffle. Seafood lovers can choose between octopus capriccio, sushi-style raw fish with pumpkin, modern grouper rolls with vegetable caponata and fillets of fresh sea bass.

And, as the sun sets over Mount Pellegrino, this superlative dining is best shared with good company and a glass or two of Donnafugata vino rosso or bianca.  
Sapori Perduti
Via Principe di Belmonte, 32
90100 - Palermo (PA)
Tel. +39. 091 327 387

Book Corner 
Sicilia In Cucina: The Flavours of Sicily by William Dello Russo
With a twelve-page section on Sicily's herbs, and a brief history of the island's best wineries, Sicilia In Cucina: The Flavours of Sicily teaches readers about the island's local resources and traditional flavor pairings. Sicily is a place where Western and Arab cultures converge; therefore the book combines traditional Sicilian recipes such as sarde a beccafico alla palermitana, stuffed sardines Palermo style, with Arab-inspired chickpea fritters and agnello abbuttunatu con patate al pesto di pastacchio, lamb stuffed with potatoes and pistachio pesto.

Available in both English and Italian, Sicilia In Cucina: The Flavours of Sicily is a collection of 80 delicious Sicilian recipes with beautiful photos to match.
Check it out at:  Amazon.com
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while welcoming cooking guests from around the world.


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