The best wine resorts in Sicily
CategoriesLifestyle

The best wine resorts in Sicily

Tourism related to food and wine is a trend that in recent years has been characterized by strong rates of development throughout Italy and, in particular, in some areas of southern Italy that are more agro-food. It is therefore no surprise that, in Sicily, for some time now, wine resorts have multiplied, often elegant and refined structures, where you can combine the pleasure of a bit of relaxation with the possibility of approaching the production (often, in the same land) of wine.

Which are the best wine resorts in Sicily?

In order to identify the best wine resorts in the area you can rely on the Sicily Guide 2020 of Repubblica italian newspaper, which has chosen to award some of the most attractive structures in the growing sector.

It is thus discovered that in the Etna area there is Monaci delle Terre Nere, a boutique hotel with a vintage flavour, located in a large estate where olive trees, citrus fruits and – of course – vineyards from which the wine from the winery comes, to be bought or tasted in the Nerello restaurant. Then there is the Cavanera Etnea Resort & Wine, where themed activities are frequently organized, such as tasting courses and food and wine tours in the area, or the Villagrande Wine Resort, in a pleasant structure undergoing restoration, not far from the volcano’s territory.

If, on the other hand, you want to dedicate yourself to an obviously different territory, you can go further south and go to the Relais Riofavara: here each suite is equipped with a selection of bottles, to be enjoyed through various
journeys. In the Iblei you can also have a seat at the Locanda Gulfi, which also organizes in its cellar of the unmissable food and wine courses, or even at the Wine Relais Feudi del Pisciotto di Niscemi, with its attractive contrasts between antiquity and modernity.

The list could go on for a long time, and satisfy any palate. The Agriturismo Gigliotto is in the centre of an estate that produces wines that can be tasted (also) in the delightful restaurant inside, while the Relais Sant’Anastasia is a 5-star structure today, surrounded by an estate of more than 60 hectares in the Madonie park. In the same territory there is also the Tenuta Regaleali, where you can spend a few days between walks and cooking lessons. And what about the Baglio di Pianetto, just a few kilometres from the town Palermo, and his natural wines?

Finally, if you want to go to the westernmost Sicily, here is La Foresteria, a country hotel of the family Planeta, where you can enjoy a cooking class, a wine tasting or an excursion to the surroundings. Near Trapani there is the Baglio Soria Resort & Wine, and to the same property is also attributable to the Calamoni residence, in Favignana. You can then take the direction of the Aeolian Islands and go to Capofaro, to a holiday of maximum relaxation.

In short – it has to be said – there is a choice for every taste!

cold cuts and cheese platter
CategoriesTips

How to make a cold cuts and cheese platter

Do you think that to make a cold cuts and cheese platter it is enough to store a few servings of local produce on a plate? Well, you’re wrong: the cold cuts and cheese platter is not just an aperitif appetizing, but it can also be an essential business card of your kitchen, as well as a a moment of pleasant sharing. That’s why we advise you to prepare it with the right care… also through the advice we have had the pleasure of summarizing below!

How to choose cold cuts

The first thing we advise you to do is to choose the cold cuts. In this case, your choice could be based on exclusively on raw ham (raw ham, speck, bacon, coppa, bresaola, lard), only on the cooked meats (cooked ham, mortadella, pork), or both.

Our advice, in this case, are mainly two:

  • If you choose to present both cooked and raw cold cuts, try to distinguish them by presenting them on two different cutting boards;
  • Try to order the cold cuts from the leaner to the fatter ones, thus allowing you to make a right sense of the presentation (and helping your diners to identify the ones you want to eat or not without resentment!).

As an alternative to the order above, you can also try to propose vertical tastings, perhaps proposing the same raw ham but with different maturing times. Or, you can to propose horizontal tastings, such as raw ham that comes from different parts of the country domestic or foreign.

Evidently, the possibility of choosing a regional or territorial platter remains valid at all times: in this case focuses exclusively on the territories in your area, perhaps adding niche productions and valuable. In short, in any case, try to provide a cue for tasting and interest that will leave yours particularly impressed guests, revealing in you an attention that – perhaps – they did not expect!

How to choose cheeses

Once you’ve chosen the cold cuts, proceed with the cheese selection. Our suggestion is in this case don’t overdo it: you don’t have to flood your guests with too many alternatives, because all they need to do is to 4-5 cheeses to make a good impression.

Also in this case, remember to create a “narrative”, perhaps placing the cheeses from the more delicate to the strongest, or from the freshest to the most seasoned.

If you are such a lover, or you think that your guests might like this choice, you can also opt for for cheeses belonging to a certain category only: think goat’s milk or cow’s milk cheese only. The option of a vertical or horizontal tasting also remains valid.

Accessories

If you’ve come this far… your efforts have already been partially rewarded, but they are certainly not over!

You must first match the right knives, knowing that their choice will depend on the kind of cheese: for soft knives you will opt for a bow knife while for harder cheeses you will opt for a bow knife you’re gonna have to add some knives. Remember to put a knife for each type of cheese, to avoid mixing tastes.

Another addition that will impress your diners is that of the sauces, jams, pickles or Jellybeans: All these elements match very well, especially if you’ve gotten some prior information on the tastiest combinations. And don’t forget the bread!

sicilian swordfish
CategoriesRecipes Main courses

Sicilian Swordfish recipe

This is a recipe article to prepare the Sicilian Swordfish. If you have bought swordfish here is a tasty recipe that you will love!

Presentation

The Sicilian swordfish is a very tasty and tasty typical dish of the island cuisine, in particular this recipe is inspired by a second course originating from the city of Messina. Here the preparation is called swordfish alla messinese and represents a triumph of four flavors and basic ingredients of the local cuisine: the very fresh swordfish, olives, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.

What makes this dish special is the “ghiotta” or “agghiotta”, the succulent sauce in which the fish is immersed. This kind of sauce is also ideal to accompany other types of fish but also white meat such as rabbit or chicken.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for the preparation of the recipe for 2 people. The dish contains 381 calories.

  • Sliced swordfish 300 gr
  • Pitted olives 50 gr
  • Tomatoes 300 gr
  • Extra virgin olive oil 30 gr
  • Pine nuts 10 gr
  • Garlic clove 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Oregano to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Preparation

You start by preparing the cherry tomatoes, which after washing them must be cut in half. Peel the garlic leaving it whole and fry it in a large pan with extra virgin olive oil. After about two minutes you can add the tomatoes previously cut, oregano and a pinch of salt. Let everything cook for ten minutes and in the meantime cut the pitted olives into very thin slices. These should also be added to the sauce in a pan.

At this point you can remove the clove of garlic and put the swordfish in the pan and cook it for two minutes on one side and then the same time on the other. After that, cover the pan with the lid and cook for another three minutes. Only at the end of cooking is the preparation sprinkled with black pepper.

Separately, while the swordfish is cooking, you can toast the pine nuts. They should be placed in a pan over a high flame for a few moments. To prevent them from burning, they must be stirred continuously. When the swordfish is ready, place it on a serving plate to which the pine nuts are added. Remember to serve the swordfish very hot.

Curiosities and advice

Sicilian swordfish is a delicious dish if prepared with fresh ingredients. It can be kept for two days in the refrigerator, better placed in a glass container with airtight closure. If all the ingredients are fresh you can freeze the Sicilian swordfish.

Obviously there are many variations of this dish that are prepared in Sicily. Each one respects its own culinary traditions and is enriched by the ingredients you prefer. Some recipes include the addition of sultanas or capers. You can customize the dish at will, using quality raw materials and a good dose of imagination and creativity. To enhance the scents and aroma of Sicilian swordfish, the advice is to pass the dish in the oven at the end of cooking. Enjoy your meal!

Details

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Type: Main course

Recipe Yield: 2 people

Calories: 381

Preparation Time: PT15M

Cooking Time: PT10M

Total Time: PT25M

Recipe Ingredients:

Editor's Rating:
4.5
pasta alla norma
CategoriesFirst courses Recipes

Pasta alla Norma recipe

In this article you will discover how to prepare at home a very tasty Sicilian recipe, Pasta alla Norma. Continue reading the article to discover all the details!

Presentation

One of the most famous dishes of the fragrant Sicilian cuisine is pasta alla Norma. They represent a true riot of Mediterranean scents and flavors and are one of the symbols of Sicily, a region where food really has another taste. It is a vegetarian dish in which the pasta is wrapped with fresh tomatoes, fried eggplant, fresh basil leaves and the inevitable salted ricotta cheese, a touch that is added in generous quantities at the end of cooking.

The natural and simple ingredients are at the base of pasta alla Norma, a preparation that is still made today as it was once done. The dish originates in the Catania area and was named after the most famous work of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, the Norma. We only have to find out how to prepare this delicious and succulent dish, remembering that each portion contains about 569 calories.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients that you must use for the preparation of the Pasta alla Norma recipe. The indicated doses are for 4 people.

  • Favorite pasta 320 gr
  • Aubergines 500 gr
  • Salted Ricotta 200 gr
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Ramato tomatoes 850 gr
  • Garlic cloves 2
  • Fresh Basil 10 gr
  • Salt to taste

For frying:

  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste

Preparation

The preparation of this dish begins with washing, drying and cutting the tomatoes into quarters. In a pan, fry two whole cloves of garlic with the skin removed in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. They will serve to flavor the dish but can be removed in case someone does not like their presence. After a few moments, add the tomatoes and cook over very low heat, putting a lid on the pan.

After about twenty minutes the tomatoes will have produced a delicious sauce and you can pass them in the masher to obtain a very smooth and uniform sauce. At this point you can pour the sauce into the pan where it was previously and adjust the salt. Finally it will cook for another 15 minutes so as to make it tighter. Pasta alla Norma would not be so good if there were no aubergines among the ingredients.

They should be washed, dried and cut into very thin slices. Only if you use aubergines with a bitterish taste is it advisable to cover the slices with salt and let them purge the excess water. Then they are fried in extra virgin olive oil. The temperature should be kept constant at 170° and the aubergines should be fried a few slices at a time. When they are well browned, they should be drained and placed on a sheet of kitchen paper to remove the superfluous oil and immediately salted. After bringing the water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta al dente.

Drain the pasta and add it to the prepared sauce, to which the fresh basil leaves will be added beforehand, while the heat is still off. Stir and let it flavour over the heat for a few minutes. Finally serve the spaghetti on plates and enrich the sauce with fried aubergines and a generous grating of salted ricotta cheese. If you have more fried aubergines you can place them in a plate in the middle of the table, so that they can be added to the dishes, in case the diners would like an encore.

Curiosities and tips

For the pasta alla Norma recipe, short pasta shapes are indicated. Sedanini rigati, mezze maniche or rigatoni are perfect to absorb even better the tasty sauce. But you can also use spaghetti.

As already mentioned, the garlic can be removed before pouring the tomato in the vegetable masher, everyone chooses according to their taste. Aubergines can also be added to pasta directly into dishes or can be poured into the sauce beforehand. The personalization of the recipe is entrusted to the free imagination and linked to local traditions. It is better not to freeze spaghetti alla Norma, they are much better if eaten fresh. Enjoy your meal!

Details

-----------

Type: First course

Recipe Yield: 4 people

Calories: 569

Preparation Time: PT20M

Cooking Time: PT60M

Total Time: PT1H20M

Recipe Ingredients:

Editor's Rating:
5
Extra virgin olive oil is healthy
CategoriesHealth and food

Extra virgin olive oil is healthy? Find out!

Nowadays it is considered as a fact, supported by solid scientific evidence: extra virgin olive oil is healthy. Its properties are numerous and varied, scholars maintain that there is still much to discover about the benefits it can bring to the human body. However, there are some cornerstones on which everyone agrees, which make EVO the best oil to use for your diet.

A cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet

It is no coincidence that extra virgin olive oil is one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet, one of the most used elements in the kitchen for cooking and eating food. The Mediterranean Diet Foundation claims that it is a food rich in vitamin E, beta-carotenes and monounsaturated fatty acids, which give it cardiovascular protection properties. Moreover, extra virgin olive oil is mostly made up of fats, which supposes that it gives an important contribution of energy to man. In particular, EVO oil is rich in oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that guarantees an antioxidant effect, important for human health, especially in older age.

The benefits: because extra virgin olive oil is healthy?

But what are these benefits that extra virgin olive oil would bring to human health? We list them for your convenience.

  • It protects against the development of cardiovascular diseases: we are talking about a product with anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties.
  • According to science, it prevents cancer, in particular breast and colon cancer formations.
  • Delays the development of arteriosclerosis, a common disease in old age, which leads to hypertension and causes heart attacks in people.
  • Prevents the development of diabetes mellitus and helps to delay its debilitating effects
  • Hinders macular degeneration of the eye, a condition in which the central portion of the retina (the macula) deteriorates or does not function properly.
  • Helps people in the fight against cellular aging
  • Extra virgin olive oil, according to experts, exerts a positive influence in the delay of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
  • It would reduce the risk of suffering from depression
  • It is an excellent ally in the fight against bad cholesterol: in parallel, it helps to increase good cholesterol
  • Thanks to EVO oil it is possible to improve digestion by stimulating the biliary vesicle.
  • It can create a “barrier” against gastritis and ulcers.
  • It is an excellent ally of the body to promote intestinal transit, a natural remedy against constipation.
  • Hydrates and tones the skin, keeping it young for a long time

One teaspoon of oil a day…

In particular, a study by the Italian Society of Diabetology has shown that consuming olive oil on a daily basis allows the control of glycaemia changes, especially in people with type 1 diabetes. Apparently, in fact, EVO oil keeps the level of sugar in the body under control, then acts as a shield for the cardiovascular system. This is why nutritionists and dieticians advise to eliminate as much as possible the use of butter and derivatives for condiments, using extra virgin olive oil in a calibrated way.

olive oil density
CategoriesHealth and food

Olive oil density: What is it, what does it depend on?

You may have wondered at least once in your life what the olive oil density. EVO oil is probably one of the most important products for our diet and without a doubt there are few of us who know its characteristics and quality. So let’s try to shed some light on how dense extra virgin olive oil is, what the density is and what it depends on.

Knowing everything about the olive oil density – and here perhaps for many people the first useful information comes – is fundamental to understand which is the highest quality oil and avoid buying products closer to water than to a good oil. Not all oils have the same density: there is certainly a big difference between that of a sunflower seed oil, for example, and that of extra virgin olive oil. But to better understand what we are talking about, let’s try to understand first of all what the olive oil density.

What it is the olive oil density

Have you ever tried mixing oil and water? If so, you have certainly noticed that these two liquids cannot be mixed together. This depends on the consistency of the oil, which is denser than water. This is certainly an interesting starting point to try to understand what we are talking about.

Density is a unit of measurement used to know the amount of mass contained within the volume of a substance. In the case of olive oil, knowing this unit allows us to understand, as we have previously pointed out, how good (or bad) the quality of an oil is. We can say that we need to know how much solid matter the oil has in relation to the total content of the bottle. This is the property that allows the water and the oil to remain separated for a long time and consequently obtain an EVO oil of the highest quality.

According to the international system established by the UN, the weight that the best olive oil must have is 0.916 kg/litre; its temperature must be 16 degrees. To know this information about the oil, when we are at the supermarket shopping, simply read the table on the back label of the product bottle. You have to keep in mind, however, that depending on the temperature the density of the oil changes: it is not strange, therefore, that the right fluidity is in the spring season, when temperatures are more likely to settle between 15 and 17 degrees, the perfect ones to have the perfect EVO oil density. When the temperature of the oil increases, its consistency decreases and the oil tends to acquire more volume.

What does the olive oil density depend on?

Among the factors that undoubtedly influence the olive oil density is its origin and the type of oil itself. In the case of vegetable oils, olive oil is much denser than, for example, coconut oil, while it is less dense than soya oil.

Looking closely at extra virgin olive oil, we can see that the consistency may depend on the type of olive used for its preparation. Some olives make it possible to produce a thicker and therefore higher quality oil. In order to control the density and obtain a perfect oil, it is important to work it in a workmanlike manner, following all the chrisms, starting from the attention to the olive harvest. Olives are made from a certain amount of water as you know for sure, but if an EVO oil contains even a minimum percentage of water it cannot be considered of quality. Today it is very simple to separate oil from water, thanks to the centrifugation process that follows that of extracting oil from olives.

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