Yes, still not done yet. I have one last day to tell you about before I dwell into our favorite bites in Sicily. While the entire day with Alessandro was a memorable one, our last stop at the winery was a particular highlight. Alessandro is the proprietor of Uncovered Sicily, essentially in the business of selling cultural experiences of all kinds. From archaeological walks with an archaeologist, Museum walks with curators, to Arancini cooking classes with Arancinialogists! Alessandro lives in Ragusa, and not only extremely knowledgeable, but quite passionate about the area and its terrain. We spent the day with him, visiting three places the area is known for most (cheese, olive oil, wine) and even had some time to explore the old town of Ragusa Ibla with him
Iabichino – Our first stop was an eye opener. An old 4th generation dairy farm in a beautiful area. Three generations on premises, along with 80 cows and one very lucky bull. You can see the smirk! Although we’ve been to such farms in Italy before, it was particularly interesting to learn about this farmer’s routine, way of life, and whats in store for the kids living in the farm. Hearing about milking the 80 cows twice a day alone made me look for the nearest bench. Its a hard life that makes you appreciate what you eat. We sampled earthy fresh ricotta they made especially for us, and other traditional Ragusano cheese. This is something you cant do on your own, unless you speak Italian and know the family and area well
Cutrera – One of the two olive oil legends we visited in Sicily. The other one is Mandranova which we visited on our own a few days later. You realize the status of the two when you visit Eataly NYC (both of them). While there are all kinds of great oils from all over Italy, the two have their own dedicated sections. We learned about the techniques and hard work that sets them apart, and had some fun with the proprietors. We learned how to sample award winning EVOO properly (apparently just tasting it is all wrong), followed by a simple lunch of.. you guessed it… olives and olive based spreads and salads. Olives is one of the only foods I’m not particularly fond of, but I was fond of this.
Feudo di Santa Tresa winery – I couldnt do the first one by myself, and I needed a designated driver for the third. This appointment alone makes this excursion worthwhile. We were joined by Laura and the winery’s CEO for a property tour and tasting, and boy what tasting it was. Its a beautiful estate in the middle of a rugged area. In the cellars, you practically smell the product and history. We tasted around 7 wines, some of which were quite unique to us. I particularly liked the Rina Ianca white (Grillo + Viognier combo), while Mrs Z was smitten by the Frappato, a red served slightly chilled and can be used for fish. All served with a beautiful lunch spread. But by the end of it all, it was just us having a fun filled lunch with new friends, and a designated driver. Thanks Alessandro!