Indulge yourself in the Italian way of life, history and culture as Carmel takes you on an immersive food tour from the bustling Palermo City to the beautiful seaside town of Ortigia on the East Coast of Sicily. This small group food tour takes you to some of the most memorable locations in Southern Italy on the island of Carmel’s beloved Sicily.
When you are choosing a vacation destination there are not too many locations around the world that remain unspoilt by modernisation or tourism, but 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 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 tour for those who love to relax 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 Tours 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 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 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.
Welcome to the capital of the island of Sicily, the flamboyant and feisty Palermo. Palermo is renowned for its architecture, pastry shops and street food.
This year we have changed it up a little and we are throwing in an extra night and starting the tour of an evening so we can give our guests a chance to arrive throughout the day at a leisurely pace and unwind before we hit Palermo City to enjoy our first dinner together at one of the famous trattorias of Palermo.
Today we take a casual walk around this historical city. We visit the colourful markets and stop for Palermo’s famous street food of Arancini, Panelle and other delicious items on the way. We make sure to warn everyone to have a light breakfast.
We visit some of Palermo’s most famous monuments including Italy’s largest opera house, Teatro Massimo located on the Piazza Verdi. It’s one of Europe’s largest theatres renowned for its perfect acoustics and where the final scenes of the film The Godfather Part III was filmed. We visit the four corners “Quattro Canti” and the famous Piazza della Vergogna. We stop at the picturesque convent I Segreti del Chiostro for a 200 gram cannolo in the pasticerria located in there, a true hidden gem. This will be the best cannolo you’ve ever tasted in your life.
This evening it’s cooking, singing, dancing, pizza, pasta and so much more. We visit a family run restaurant to get your first real taste of the warm Sicilian hospitality.
We head to the medieval town of Erice. This historical town is surrounded by defensive town walls, crowned by a castle, and dominates the surrounding area from its mountainous height of approximately 800 metres above sea level. Erice is the town of one of Sicily’s most famous pastry chefs, Signora Grammatico.
She will tell the story of how she stole the recipes for her sweets from the nuns in the convent where she lived for years. Her rag to riches story will make you smile as will her sweets.
On our way back from Erice we stop at the gorgeous coastal town of Terrasini on the Tyrrhenian Sea. A magnificent seafood restaurant with spectacular views. Zuppa di cozze, sardines beccafico and so much more. Terrasini holds a special place in my heart, I know you will fall in love with it too.
Tonight you have a chance to explore the city at your own leisure, head to La Cala (the marina) for sunset aperitivo or the Centro Storico, (the old city) for a gelato or join the locals for their Saturday night passegiata. (Traditional Evening Stroll).
Get ready to loosen your belt, today is going to be a feast for your taste buds. We visit the historical 14th century tiny town of Castelbuono famous for it’s native Basilichi mushrooms and home to the world famous Fiasconaro Panettone. To me there is no better panettone, we get to taste a few varieties at their mothership store.
Tonight is the highlight of this tour. It’s that place you see in the movies, the photos you see online of families feasting and where you dream of sitting. Tonight we visit my favourite restaurant in the world, located in Salemi. There are about 22 different dishes served here and it truly is an experience like no other. This is where the locals go, we taste it all!!!
We farewell Palermo and head to the other side of the island, to the East coast of the island, to the region of Siracusa. The island of Ortigia (joined to the mainland by a bridge), also known as Città Vecchia, Ortigia contains many historical landmarks including the Duomo di Siracusa. We dine in front of this spectacular Duomo by night.
This piazza is one of my favourites in the whole of Italy.
This morning we take a walk around the island taking in all its glory, including the beautiful Ortigia marina. We stroll through the markets in Ortigia. This place is insanely good, it’s my go to spot every week when I’m in Sicily. There’s a little deli at the markets that has the most amazing crunchy wood fired bread that’s topped with sesame seeds and when it’s filled with mortadella or prosciutto it truly is one of my favourite meals in the world. It goes hand in hand with a beer and I guarantee you you will tell all your friends about this place.
Extra: We will go for a swim in the Ionian sea at one of Siracusas spectacular crystal clear beaches. (Weather permitting).
We spend the afternoon at the UNESCO heritage town of spectacular Noto, one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns, flanked by grandeur baroque palazzi and churches. When you step into Noto you’ll feel like you are on a movie set.
Today we visit Baroque, Modica & Ragusa Ibla. We spend some time discovering the beautiful Baroque Valley of Ragusa, the area my parents grew up in. In Modica we visit Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily founded in 1880. In Ibla we take a walk through the beautiful communal villa and let you discover this quaint tiny cobblestone town.
We visit the Valle dell’Acate winery run by the Jacono family where our host, my dear friend Somellier Giovanni Carbone takes us through the original 19th century palmento for a tasting of Frappato, Nero D’avola and Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily’s only DOCG. I’m proud to say that the New York Times voted their Frappato the best from Sicily. Tonight our farewell dinner.
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.