Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

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Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Eli R » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:56 am

Hi all,

The decision has been made:
a week in Sicily in October, 2 couples traveling and I am the only wine lover.

I will appreciate any food and wine recommendations, including special local dishes and were to try them, local wines to watch for, wineries to visit.

I understand that Sicily is best known for fortified wines like the Masala, how about dry red wines, both traditional and "new world".

Posted also on the culinary forum: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=18436

Thanks,

Eli
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Ryan M » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:58 am

Hello Eli,

Nero d'Avola is Sicily's best indigenous red, and never dissappoints. It has the structure of Syrah, but with Sangiovese's flavors. Sicilian Syrah is also quite good. For whites, I think the best of the indigenous grapes is Inzolia. I think of it as being structured like Chardonnay, but with nut and honey notes added. Grillo (white) is good as well, but is more interesting for its complex herbal aromatics than its fruit. Nothing profound, but at its best very refreshing and quite pleasant.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:19 pm

Eli, Hi....

A lovely place to visit and a good time. You may find some rain but the big advantage is that the island will not be flooded with tourists (well, unless Israelis descend there while getting away from home).

Wineries

By far the most interesting will be Planeta. They have several wineries on the island and you will be receive a warm welcome as the owning family has a fine relationship with Israel. Also very good to visit will be the wineries of Cusumano, Tasca d'Almerita and Donna Fugata, all producing some excellent and interesting wines. Be sure in all cases to phone ahead to let them know when you are coming.

With special regard to Planeta, see my recent tasting notes at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1017732.html If you want to make a few "points" print that out and bring a copy for the family when you visit.

Dining Out

Many good trattoria style restaurants in every city and town on the island, and for those best bet is to go by your senses and play your hunches. Three places that I recommend highly:

Principe Cerami, piazza San Domico 51, in Taormina. Excellent traditional food with a distinctly modern touch in an extraordinarily lovely setting. Excellent local wine list. Expensive but worth the investment.

Casa Grugno, via Santa Maria de'Greci 1, in Taormina. Excellent Sicilian dishes with a unique Northern-Italian touch. Good wine list. Moderate-expensive.

Scrivano, via Bonaventura 1, in the village of Randazzo. A super-homey place, nothing complex in the décor but warm and welcoming with classic Sicilian dishes. Moderate prices. My personal favorite in Sicily.


Miscellaneous

To read about several traditional Sicilian dishes, see my little piece at
http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/recipes_of_sicily.html

To read a bit about Sicilian culture and dining habits, the piece at
http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/sicily_at_easter.html

For a bit more on Marsala wine
http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/marsal ... oking.html


Have a great vacation!

Best
Rogov
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Ryan M » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:32 pm

Not that it adds much to Rogov's recommendation, but yes, Cusumano is regarded as one of the best producers, and their wines are very good and very reliable. And also reasonably priced ($15 or under in the US for their basic lineup). Feudo Arancio is also a very reliable producer in the under $10 category, but I think is primarily an export label.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
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(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Jan Schultink » Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:32 pm

Try to get your hands on this book: Midnight in Sicily
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:18 pm

A good selection from Rogov - pretty much what I was going to suggest allied to Hauner for Malvasia della Lipari.

Only spent one night on mainland Sicily (Catania). The trattoria "Serafino" on via Musumeci 43 nr. the market was very good but that's a few years ago. Nit a tourist place, but very good fish and a good ambience (and cheap too!). Catania is a bit imposing though and the most rubbish airport duty free shop I've seen (quite an achievement) :lol:

If you're going to the Aeolian Islands I could give you some tips on restaurants in Lipari, but would also recommend the very basic mud baths on Vulcano - a very basic but rewarding experience.

Hope you have fun and enjoy the arancini 8)

regards

Ian
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Eli R » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:29 pm

Thank you all, very good leads to work on. Eli
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Re: Sicily, Food & wine recommendations

Postby Mike_F » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:35 am

The old forum is still searchable, see there. One relevant thread is http://stratsplace.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=15410

If the thread vanishes into cyberspace, here is the main info'-

After visiting, I can confirm that Taormina is a classic tourist trap- the kind of place one should visit for the view, a quick cup of coffee at a bar, and then escape as quickly as possible. Via Umberto is indeed wall to wall restaurants in between the Gucci and junk stores, but difficult to tell which (if any) of them is worth a stop.

If you unfortunately find yourself trapped in Taormina for a meeting or suchlike, dive into the side streets and follow where the locals go. One recommendation for some authenticity is a small wine bar called Al Grappolo d'Uva, Via Bagnoli Croci 6/8, Taormina, Tel 0942 625874. A couple glasses of local wines and a good bruschetta at fair prices, together with friendly conversation from the knowledgable people behind the counter served to keep my sanity. Local wines are on sale at reasonable prices, and if desired any bottle from the display can be purchased to consume on the premises at 30% mark-up.
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