Indulge yourself in the Italian way of life, history, food and culture as Carmel takes you on an immersive food tour in Italy. The 2023 tour will travel to the best locations in the south of Italy from the beautiful seaside town of Ortigia to the historic city of Modica.
This small group food tour takes you to some of the most popular locations in Southern Italy on the island of Carmel’s beloved Sicily.
When you are choosing a vacation destination in Italy there are not too many locations that remain unspoilt by modernisation or tourism. Sicily is one of those, making it ideal for the discerning traveler.
Sicily is a place to visit in Italy where the mountains meet the sea. Carmel will help you explore this idyllic summer holiday island destination to experience a mix of food, wine, cooking, sightseeing & relaxing in the golden summer sunshine with its unspoilt coastlines.
Every moment of this tour of Italy has been perfectly chosen to create a beautifully balanced mix between leisure or travel time so that you can soak up the exquisite scenery and beautiful summer weather. It is a small group tour for those who love food and relaxation time on their holiday.
We know that each location we visit will have you wanting to eat everything you see & fill your phone camera with hundreds of photos. With more than 20 years experience as a restauranter you can trust Carmel to know the right places and people to give you a memorable travel experience – it is why so many foodies have written raving reviews about these tours.
"... I’d visited Sicily before, but Carmel provided a personal connection to our experience by introducing us to incredible makers of gelato, pizza, pasta and restaurateurs throughout southeastern Sicily..."
You get a chance during the tour to throw on a vibrant red Sicilian Food Tour apron to try your hand at rolling fresh dough to make a pizza, making cannoli, picking vine ripened tomatoes to make traditional sauce and more. Novice cook or experienced chef, this tour of Italy will appeal to anyone who loves food and wants to travel to Italy to tickle every taste bud & fulfill culinary dreams, escaping the world of mass produced, preservative laden shelf bought food.
Our small group tour let’s you absorb the history created within the different regions of Italy and the unique cuisines that hail from different villages or families. Every day we only eat the freshest, seasonal, produce that is sourced locally. Most holiday makers will know Sicily as a type of crossroad in the Mediterranean with its proximity to Algeria, Malta, Tunisia and Libya, it’s food and wine has an alluring, storied history with many influences.
We meet at Catania Airport at 2pm for a two hour bus trip to the undiscovered South coast of Sicily, Italy, to the small fishing village of Scoglitti overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Here we settle into our beachfront hotel Al Gabbiano.
In the evening it’s aperitivo time at my favourite local bar followed by dinner at one of Scoglitti’s best seafood restaurants where we will enjoy a seafood degustation served with local Sicilian wines made in Italy.
We visit my cousin’s tomato farm on the outskirts of Scoglitti. Sicilian tomatoes are like sweet plums, a taste sensation you will never forget. Walking through these Serre (hot houses) is definitely a unique experience. For lunch we head to the Valle dell’Acate winery run by the Jacono family where our host Giovanni Carbone takes us through the original 19th century palmento for a tasting of Frappato, Nero D’avola and Cerasuolo, Sicily’s only DOCG wine enjoyed with a light rustic Sicilian lunch. We get to taste the famous Ragusane scacce.
This evening we enjoy a traditional Sicilian Sunday feast at Carmel’s family home, where food and wine will be aplenty. We try the famous traditional Sicilian digestif Averna, which comes from nearby Caltanisetta. A BBQ feast with the whole family where we enjoy Sicilian salsiccia and an array of local tomatoes which we picked this morning.
Zia Maria & cousin Carmel will demonstrate a few Sicilian classics like everyone’s favourite dessert sfingi (a type of Sicilian donut). Time to roll up your sleeves, join in and have some fun cooking.
This is everyones favourite night on our tour in Italy.
Today we make our way to the region of Agrigento. One of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions is without a doubt the Valley of the Temples, just outside Agrigento city. The Valley of the Temples. So many people may choose to visit Rome or Pompeii, but very few realise there are even more ancient locations in Italy like these.
The archaeological park consists of eight temples built between about 510 BC and 430 BC:the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestos, the Temple of Demeter, and the Temple of Asclepius. All are situated in the same area on rocky crests south of modern day Agrigento – not really in a valley at all, but one of the oldest areas of Italy.
Tonight we enjoy a little party in town, with DJ and fireworks.
Today cousin Massimo will teach us how to make Pizza in his pizzeria at the nearby tiny town of Punta Secca. We get to taste the most amazing maccale’ in the world. A local favourite dessert. We spend the afternoon discovering the beautiful Baroque Valley of Modica. Narrow lanes, alleys and staircases climb up the slopes on both sides of picturesque Corso Umberto. Always one of the favourites on our tours.
We visit Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily founded in 1880. The New York Times called it “…chocolate of astonishingly pure, powerful flavor.” Here we taste a variety of chocolate and one of the best cannoli in Sicily.
This evening head to the cobblestone town of Ragusa Ibla. Ragusa Ibla hosts a wide array of Baroque architecture including palaces and churches. We take a walk through the beautiful communal villa. We enjoy a rustic dinner at one of Ibla’s finest restaurants & we try local homemade ricotta ravioli a specialty of this area.
Todays lunch is at one of this regions finest wineries. We indulge in these Zisola fine wines while taking in the surrounds of this spectacular winery. After lunch we make our way to the east coast of the island, our home for the second part of our tour, Ortigia. The island, also known as Città Vecchia. It contains many historical landmarks including the spectacular Duomo di Siracusa. We wander through the narrow medieval lanes and enjoy dinner in one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy.
This morning we head to the fish markets in Ortigia. We take a walk through the bustling markets & discover all the spices, fruits and veggies of Sicily. We stop at one of Ortigia’s famous amazing delis for lunch. This afternoon take a little boat ride around the magnificent island. A chance for a swim in the Ionian Sea. Ortigia is a small island which is the historical centre of the city of Syracuse.
We spend this evening at the UNESCO heritage town of Noto, one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns, flanked by grandeur baroque palazzi and churches. It’s like visiting a movie set. This is the perfect end to our time in Sicily.
Tonight is our farewell dinner.
Departure day. The shuttle bus will depart at 9am for Catania airport from the Ortigia Hotel.
Accommodation is included in the price of the tour. We stay in local hotels while you are in Sicily & base ourselves at a couple of different locations so that we are not moving from hotel to hotel each day. This provides more time to enjoy each day on the tour.