This is part 1 of a 3 part post of my favorite memories from a recent trip to Sicily. Anyone who has met me knows that I am a bit obsessed with Sicily. My Sicily obsession has grown since the death of my Sicilian grandmother Maria in 2003. I am thankful to her for sharing her memories of Sicily. I admire her sarcasm, stubbornness and strength. She was a testarda (stubborn person) and for that reason I proudly hold my Italian passport. She was my last grandparent to immigrate to Boston allowing her to retain her Italian citizenship.Since 2003, I’ve visited Sicily countless times. Initially I searched for my roots to understand more about myself, my family and my attraction to the island. Every trip brought a new adventure from midnight fishing off the Aeolian Islands to walking the vineyards of Pantelleria. I fell in love with the energy, the smell, the tastes, I fell in love with the food, the wine and the people. When I received a call from the most difficult clients asking me to plan a trip of a lifetime to Sicily for them, I knew I was up for the challenge. The group was my mom, dad and three cousins. It may seem obvious that all clients want their vacation to be a trip of a lifetime. Understanding what a client envisions is the first step. My clients (family) wanted to stay in a villa near Siracusa with a pool, garden and outdoor kitchen and direct access to the sea. They wanted to relax, cook and most of all spend time together creating unforgettable memories.
My 5 most cherished memories from this very special trip of a lifetime are…
- Stealing an hour with mom on Mother’s Day for a plate Sicilian cheese, semi-sundried tomatoes, eggplant parmesan and wine at Gusto dei Sapori Smarriti in Ortigia.
- An indulgent breakfast at Caffé Sicilia in the city of Noto which is a UNESCO Heritage site. Cannoli, brioche, granita and cappuccino were exactly the sugar and caffeine jolt required to kick off a day of sightseeing.
- Leading my family on a tour of the Ortigia food market to buy fish, vegetables and bread for an evening BBQ.
- Spending a morning at I Vigneri vineyards on Etna with the Etna Wine Lab.
- A farewell swim at the ramp of our Think Sicily villa rental. Despite living in Italy for more than 7 years, I still have New England blood which means I’ll jump in the sea in May despite chilly temps! That’s Mom and me.
to be continued…Sicily Part 2 – On Etna with The Etna Wine Lab & I Vigneri