Sicily

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I have so much to tell you about my recent trip to Sicily!

No place has infused its way into my senses in the way that Sicily has. Its wild, mythical beauty found amongst the citrus and almond trees. The spectacular sunsets and the flamingos spotted flying over the nature reserve of Vendicari. Its unspoilt beaches and hidden seafood trattorias in Brucoli and Marzamemi. The baroque architecture and the ever-winding backstreets of the hill towns and Ortigia island. The delicate flavours of biancomangiare and moscato discovered at Noto’s classical Italian ‘Caffe Sicilia’. The mystical mornings, the scent of jasmine and the food! Oh yes, I saved the food for last, as it was those tantalising Sicilian flavours along with the terroir of the Sicilian south-east that inspired me to pick up my camera the most…

We spent 10 days on the south-east coast of Sicily. The beautiful Country House Villadorata was our home for the duration, the perfect base and retreat for day trips to the beaches, exploring the beautiful baroque towns of Noto, Ortigia island, Ragusa and hidden seafood trattorias found in the most unlikely places…

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Early mornings at Villadorata were mystical! The soft light and the fresh cool breeze made it my favourite time of day to walk through the citrus groves, take in the views, say hello to the almond  trees and take some photographs…I loved the rugged nature, the beautiful soft furnishings (Margiela towels and bathrobes in our rooms!), products (from Ortigia) and the friendly staff at the country house! I felt like a guest at a friends house…

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The scent of jasmine that infused the air especially at night was ambient! Many memorable dinners were had on the terrace under the jasmine trees, tasting beautiful local Sicilian dishes with products from the garden…hello aubergines!

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Every morning along with fresh almond milk, omelettes with sun-dried tomatoes, local cheeses from Ragusa, there was a freshly baked cake there to greet us!!! The almond trees below, I think they have some sort of mythical properties!!

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Early morning strolling through the land where the lemon trees grow…

 

 

 

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Pasta con pesce spada from the kitchen at the country house was one of my favourites. A local Sicilian dish with swordfish and fresh citrus…

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But my ultimate favourite was the Pasta alla Norma, made with aubergines from the garden, a fresh tomato sauce and tossed with ricotta salata cheese! After a morning on the beach and salty sea swims, this dish was just divine and re-ignited a new love and taste for aubergines!

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A lemon sorbet from I Rizzari was just the perfect ending after plates of spectacular fresh seafood.

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The market on the island of Ortigia was a feast for the senses: the local produce, the tomatoes, the seafood, the market stall characters, and the food were all a work of art. We stumbled upon this great Italian deli serving giant-sized sandwiches and the mozzarella boxes! A show of Italian hand gestures, almost operatic performances of slicing cheeses and hams and creating these marvellous masterpieces…we settled for two mozzarella boxes, stuffed with fresh oregano, tomatoes, olives and of course the cheese!

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Flamingos flying over the Vendicari nature reserve!!!

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Lunch at I Rizzari – A hidden seafood gem on the east-coast of Sicily in the picturesque town of Brucoli!! I had been dreaming of a big plate of gambas by the sea all summer long and I finally found my moment in this little trattoria overlooking the sea, with the most amazing view, seafood and seafood pasta dishes! It’s the kind of place my holiday dreams are made of…

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And Noto, the beautiful baroque town with the most glamorous Italian style architecture, and home to Caffe Siclia my all-time favourite café! The fresh almond lattes, the Biancomangiare (an almond dessert served with a local sweet moscato wine), lemon and almond granita (like a slushy sorbet) served with brioche and espresso for breakfast. I loved the laid-back classic atmosphere and watching local Sicilian families pile in for midnight deserts!

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I said farewell to Sicily with a new found love of aubergines and returned with a suitcase stuffed with Sicilian-almonds, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, chocolate from Modica and products from Ortigia (my new Sicilian obsession). My little Parisian kitchen is now full to the brim with local tomatoes, aubergines, fresh oregano and I’ve been busy attempting to re-creating those dishes that I fell in love with to keep those Sicilian vibes alive…I don’t want to let that Sicilian feeling go…

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5 comments

    • I am so sorry but I can’t quite remember the title of the book – I was just browsing it on the coffee table. I know it was purely about baroque, Italian, architecture so maybe try an google or amazon search on it.

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