Sicily cooking class

by Aldo Torrisi, 02/10/2015

An ancient and elegant farmhouse surrounded by vineyards and immersed in the silence of the wood, overlooking a spectacular landscape between sea and Mount Etna. The farmhouse at the center of the Estate has been renovated respecting the original architecture, as well as have been kept unchanged the characteristics of Etna landscape, bringing the oldest native vines to new glory.
Here is a brief but effective portrait of this family farmhouse and winery.
The owner Mrs. Isabella recalls that:
 “In the house on the hill, grandparents and I spent one of the happiest days of our lives, between mulberry, hazel, cherry, peach, plum and chestnut trees. Once through the entrance, it had the feeling of stepping into a suspended world: a great avenue of oaks and olive trees, dotted with lilies, a dense wood only passed by small paths, with lighting effects in chiaroscuro. At the center it was the small Serrantìco Castle…
I like that there is a cellar which must not only produce good wine, but also have a story to tell, following the parallel path to the life and affections”

We welcome our guests with a guided tour of the estate. The tour ends up on the kitchen area where we make a presentation of the cooking class within territory history and myth. Our cooking class consists on preparing a menu inspired to recipes of Etna. Finally we enjoy lunch time with all dishes prepared completed with three label wine tasting from the cellar visited.

We start with a walk between the colorful and vibrant food market, surrounded by the sumptuous and dazzling Baroque of Syracuse. Our location for this Sicilian Cooking experience is a monastery of the eighteenth century in the heart of Ortigia. The area has been preserved and renewed from a team of young Sicilian person in love with this territory. The kitchen presents wide and bright spaces, full of history  and flavored of typical ancient Sicilian sites. It’s the perfect location to enjoy the pleasure of food and conviviality.
You’ll enjoy a cooking class featured on a basic menu of traditional Sicilian cuisine. We’ll present all the dishes on the menu and tell you some story strongly connected with our territory and myth.
After cooking you’ll have lunch with the dishes prepared completed with a special local wine tasting.

The historic house-museum Catania Historical Society (Società Storica Catanese) is an amazing venue in the historic center of Catania. From its balconies you can admire the principal road of Catania Via Etnea which goes from South to North, from Piazza Duomo to the Vulcano Etna. This spectacular museum keep a library with thousands books – including texts from the 16th century – collections of photographs, antiques, old furniture and a kitchen from the 19th century: a place that brings together culture, history and cuisine.
At the house-museum you can take part in a wide range of different activities:
– Traditional pastries class
– Street food cooking class

– Pescheria (traditional fish market) guided tour
– Cooking class
– Lunch

Sicilian cooking is strongly influenced by their ancient history. The impact the Greeks left included flatbreads that would later develop into the well-loved focaccia loaves.  Sfincioni are thick focacce topped with tomato and cheese.  Greeks also taught the Sicilians to use snow from the mountain tops for iced desserts flavored with local fruits and honey.
Other influences came from the Arabs that brought sugar and taught the Sicilians to make extravagant dessert dishes with it.  Today, a popular fried dough called crispeddi is enjoyed sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, though a savory version may also be served with anchovy and wild fennel to flavor the pastry.  They also began what would turn into a dynasty of pasta makers.
The Arabs also used tuna and swordfish in cùscusu.  It uses a variety of fish, prepared with herbs and tomatoes and served over a bed of hand rolled balls of semolina wheat called couscous.  Other times, swordfish is cooked with pine nuts, raisins, olives, herbs and tomatoes.  Grilled swordfish is also popular stuffed with cheese and vegetables.
As with most of Italy, Sicilian cuisine often offers pasta.  Most of the pasta is made from semolina wheat and can take many forms.  Zite al pomodoro e tonno is made from short pasta tubes and served with a fresh tomato and tuna sauce.  The dumplings called gnocculli semolino gnocchi are topped with a creamy ricotta and meat sauce.  The author of La Norma, an Italian opera, so fond of pasta con la Norma spaghetti that it was named after him.  This luscious dish is topped by a tomato and eggplant sauce.  The most famous food of all Sicilian recipes is pasta con le sarde, generally topped with sauce of fresh sardines and anchovies and sometimes seasoned with a selection of nuts, herbs, raisins and onions.
Other kinds of starchy food are Arancini di riso  fried balls of cooked rice with a filling made of chopped meat, tomatoes, cheese & peas.  Sicily’s moderate climate and the rich volcanic soil grow flavorful, beautiful produce.  Of course, the tomatoes are enjoyed in Sicilian cooking, as are eggplants and peppers.  In melanzane alla siciliana, eggplant slices are deep fried, then topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce and baked.  Carciofi ripieni is a dish of baked artichokes stuffed with cheese, sardines and sausages.  Other vegetable dishes are served cold.  Caponata, a luscious stew of eggplant, tomatoes, capers, olives and onions, is served as a salad or appetizer.  Peperonata stews bell peppers and tomatoes with onion and olives.
Sicilian recipes are famous for both their olive oil and capers.  These ingredients complement the fresh sea foods that are featured in many Sicilian recipes. Fresh tuna and swordfish are marinated and served stewed, roasted or grilled as steaks.
Sicilians enjoy meat in many forms.  Pork, lamb and kid are the preferred meats, but rabbit, poultry and veal are also eaten.  This is the region that lays claim to inventing meatballs, known as polpetti or polpettoniPolpette are made from ground beef with grated cheese, beaten egg and breadcrumbs as a binder, then fried and served as a main course with tomato sauce.   Large slices of beef or veal are pounded flat then stuffed with chopped ham and sausage, using eggs and grated pecorino as binder.  These farsumagru are rolled up and braised in herb scented wine.
This region’s citrus, known as arancia rossa di Sicilia, are prized around the worlds, figs and table grapes are also famous for their lush juicy sweetness and flavor.  Many of these fruits are dried and used along with nuts in the desserts that Sicilian cooking is famous for.  The elaborate cassata is a sponge cake that is layered with a maraschino flavored ricotta frosting and candied fruits and nuts.  Orange peels are candied and cannoli flavors sweetened ricotta with the candied fruits, then stuffs the smooth mixture into fried pastry tubes.  Other desserts highlight the creamy, fresh ricotta cheese made with local dairy.  Ravioli di Carnevale is a deep fried ravioli that is filled with cinnamon kissed, sweetened ricotta cheese. Nuts play a large part in Sicilian desserts as well.  Almonds are ground and sweetened to make marzipan and pasta reale in Sicilian recipes.  Locally grown pistachio nuts are often enjoyed in ice cream.  Pignolata don’t contain nuts in the ingredients, but the name gives an affectionate nod to pine nuts because of the shape of the pastry.  These fried balls of dough are placed in a pile and held together by liqueur flavored caramelized sugar and sometimes chocolate.

We invite you to select the area of Sicily among those proposed on the previous section where we can ensure cooking classes.  All the cooking class are subject to availability of the locations in which they take place
Classes and guided tours are held in English. In case of special requirements contact us
The cooking class takes place mainly in the morning and include lunch.
On request upon availability of the location we can organize classes in the afternoon – evening.
Note : this could result in an additional cost

Deposit payment: A confirmation and booking deposit of 30% will be required immediately by bank transfer
Final payment: Balance must be paid 7 days prior to departure or directly in site to our staff member.

In case Guests cannot participate to the class on the booked previous day he may agree directly with the organizer a new date at no additional cost. If guests decide to cancel the tour booked the penalty are the following:
– 30% deposit is not refundable
– 70% of full amount is not refundable from 6 days to 24 hours before departure
– No refund for no shows.

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  • marina di ragusa maps You cannot miss a culinary experience when you visit Sicily. We offer hands-on cooking classes  focused on our regional cuisine, between traditional food, baroque cuisine and traditional pastries. Activities are set in exclusive venues, supported by a food storyteller and followed by lunch (or dinner) and wine tasting. Experience the most authentic aspects of our culture with our food walking tours where you can taste local street food while enjoying the beauty of the historical city center. We can welcome you on several Sicilian cities: Catania, Syracuse, Taormina, Etna. A taste of Sicily with us!