Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sicily's historical foodie mountain fortress

Setting: The cobble stoned mountain village of Erice on the northern coast of Sicily, 750m above sea level with sweeping views of San Vito lo Capo, Punta da Saraceno and Trapani.

Sensation: After spending the day under the hot summer sun in a tiny bay around San Vito lo Capo the crisp mountain air is invigorating.

Taste: Artisan ricotta pastry, crisp and soft, not too sweet - yes, it has been known that such a pastry can steal my heart - and a tiny fragrant Italian espresso.

Charm: Erice is an ambient little place to explore, with lots of atmospheric corners and crannies, two historical castles and some remains of ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls. I also enjoyed tasting a host of Marsala wines and a selection of olives at the gourmet shops along the way through the narrow streets.

How to get there:  It is possible to drive up the narrow windey road leading up the mountain. Or simply take the cable car close to Trapani: it's only three euros for a 20-minute thrill.

Must-do: Caffe Maria offers a scenic upstairs balcony and a gourmet menu. Just go, both are unmissable.

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