Monday, September 26, 2011

One week in Sicily

A small - but beautiful! - group of us are travelling with leading Victorian chef Patrizia Simone on a two-week discovery tour of Sicily.

This trip is a foodie trip so for the past week we've travelled through many towns, but probably more importantly - we've eaten in many osteria, trattoria, restaurants.  Fresh vegetables, fresh seafood, delicious local cheeses, not a lot of meat and surprisingly, we've seldom ventured into pasticceria.  But despite that the kilos are piling on.

The weather has been hot. As a consequence of the hazy days, photos tend to look a little average and will need some refining before posting.

 This is Sea Cloud moored off Toamina - she arrived in Palermo as we flew into Punta Raisa airport and now she's in Toamina - as are we!  You think that's a poor fuzzy pic? As I write this in Villa Belvedere the rain is bucketing down and you can scarcely see her.

The absolute best, most stunning meal was at La Madia in Licata. The chef of this two Michelin starred restaurant in Licata is Pino Cuttaia.  To get into this small restaurant (seats 20), you first have to ring the front door bell.  Dining is set-menu, and Pino's choice - but he will make exception for "alternative" diners (such as me).  The photos are on someone else's camera, so this is just to whet your appetite until I get hold of them.  Suffice to say there were many groans of pleasure as each beautiful, delicious course arrived.  Pino accompanied each dish to explain its provenance. Staff appear to be minimal - two waiters - except in the kitchen where about a dozen young (male) faces peered back at us as we trooped out.  There is a lot of competition among young chefs to win the opportunity to undertake a "stage" and it seemed that most of Japan's young chefs are at La Madia at the moment.

The other news - probably only pertinent to Australians - is that we've been eating bananas; at one euro a kilo, from Ecuador.  These are the first we've eaten in nine months, since the Queensland crops were destroyed by cyclones and the prices for these rare fruit skyrocketed.

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