Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Salute, Sicilia!

Beautiful travel experiences provide a lifetime of pleasure. I’m so excited to start writing about my recent Italian island holiday in Sicily. Looking through my photographs and souvenirs, penning my thoughts; it’s as though experiencing bella Sicilia all over again.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It takes a good few hours to drive from Palermo Airport to Menfi, in the Province of Arigento, where our stone villa was just two minutes walk from the beach. The simple landscape of vineyards, prickly pears and old stone walls already set the scene for slow-paced, simple living. Cast in the Italian summer sunlight our surroundings took on a magical allure.

Of course, the authentic laid back pace doesn’t mean that the local Italians forget all about their fancy Armani sunglasses on Menfi’s Blue Flag beaches or neglect to look impeccable when they splash about in the clear, warm sea water. Style remains as imperative here as in any sort of Italian lifestyle. Style and, pasta sauce...

If life in Italy is all about spending hours sharing good food and wine with good friends, taking siestas and starting all over again, then we lived the Italian dream for a week. A communal favourite was simple pasta sauces made with combinations of red onions, sweet Italian tomatoes, capers, olives and anchovies. We also enjoyed roasted fennel and had much fun making our own pizza in the traditional wood fired pizza oven out on our villa terrace. Dessert was fresh apricots from the tree next to our bougainvillea.

All of our home cooked meals were enthusiastically paired with our favourite Sicilian wines. We loved the Santanella from Mandrarossa, an aromatic floral white blend of Fiano, Viognier and Chenin Blanc. However my personal favourite was Madrarossa's Urra di Mare, a light, fresh Sauvignon blanc that dances like a sea breeze on the tongue.

Informally known as Sicily’s African coast, Menfi is separated from the North African country of Tunisia by only a narrow stretch of ocean. The town of Menfi itself has a distinct Arabian architectural influence, highlighting the cultural smorgasbord that adds to the delight of this Mediterranean island.

No comments: