Saturday morning, we drove up to Florence from Siena to board a plane into Catania. Catania is one of the main cities in Sicily and near our final destination, Taormina. Once we hopped off the plane, we found a taxi to take us to the train for our short ride into Taormina. Another taxi then dropped us off right on the most beautiful coast line, to a resort called "Terra Rossa
". Terra Rossa overlooks the most famous island in Sicily, Isola Bella. Once again, we had the whole place to ourselves because December is in the off season for beach towns in Italy. It was great news for us because the weather was amazing and we didn’t have to fight any crowds!
We went straight into town for lunch and found a cute little pizzeria for… pizza, duh. We were surprised to find that they did not have many meat choices for their pizzas, but mainly cheeses, a small selection of seafood, and vegetables. I think this is the day that jet lag really hit us because we were so beat after lunch that we went back to our villa and slept straight through dinner and the night, totaling up a 14 hour slumber. Once again, no regrets.
The next morning, we were energized and ready to see some Taormina! We walked down the stairs that lined the mountain side to see the famous Isola Bella. It was so beautiful and serene, especially because we had the entire beach and island to ourselves! We even mustard up the courage to do some rock jumping! The water was a bit too chilly for swimming, but it was nice to be able to see it from different vantage points aside from the shoreline.
That night, we walked to a restaurant that the son of the owner of our villa recommended, Ristorante Al Duomo
. This restaurant was another restaurant on the Michelin Guide, so we weren’t mad about it! They had great service, dessert, and raw plate for antipasti. We ate out on their terrace and stayed until they closed up, enjoying the town square and great wine.
Our last full day in Taormina was spent with the amazing Chef Massimo
for a cooking class! The 5 hour class started out in the town’s super market where Chef taught us how to tell if a fish is fresh and how to choose the best and most healthy produce. Just in the first hour of the class, we learned so much! It is amazing what we eat in the states and how companies use visual perfection as a marketing ploy, when really the most healthy foods are the ones that deformed or have bites from insects. Chef made a very great point about the chemicals that are on what we eat, and how if insects run away from pesticides, why aren’t we running from them too? It really opened my eyes to the produce that we had been buying and how we will shop from now on.
After gathering our ingredients from the local market, we walked just short walk to the restaurant where Chef would be guiding us through our lunch. We made macaroni from scratch, breaded Spatula (fish) served proper Sicilian style (olive oil, bread crumbs, no egg or flour), Sea bass, Carponata (vegetable dish), a cauliflower and fresh mozzarella dish, and got to drink two types of Sicilian wine. All in all, it took us one hour to shop and learn about the market, three hours to cook, and one hour to enjoy our feast. I’ve never spent more than one hour on cooking food, let alone three! It was well worth the love, care, and attention. Everything just melted in your mouth and the flavors were explosive! Chef’s cooking class can be found here if any one is traveling to Sicily! Well worth every penny!
Chef recommended us to have our late night dinner at Red&White
. The owner was our server, once again (we loved this!), and he was so kind and VERY energetic. He gave us champagne and Amaretto liquor to go with our Amaretto dessert. There was great music here and it seemed to draw a younger crowd which was cool to see.
It felt like every where we went, we were making great friends that would we would recognized and come to revisit the next time we are to visit. Speaking of which, I’m counting down the days and pinching the penny’s to make this happen! Italy has 100% stolen my heart and my dream goal is to be able to come back yearly. Til next time!