I’m struggling with how to start this post. And struggling with how to actually post it, since we’ve been having trouble finding a solid Internet connection here. But, looks like we’re in luck for the next few minutes — finally!
Anyways, back to the start. What do you want to see first — a scenic view?The perfect pastry?Or a glass of wine?That’s the issue with Sicily. Too many beautiful and delicious things, not enough time . We’ve been making the most of it all so far!
We arrived just in time for lunch on Tuesday and stopped at one of Anthony’s favorite hangouts. Back story: Anthony’s family is from Sicily and he’s visited (and even lived for a year) here on and off since he was a kid.Needless to say, this stop on our trip is very special for him and exciting for me, too. Also, having a travel partner who speaks Italian definitely helps!
I think my Italian is getting pretty good, though. I’ve learned all of the essential words like arroncini (fried ball of rice and amazingness) and pizza (never delivery, never DiGiorno)and granita (sorbet and cream paired with a brioche bun)Polishing off my first granita was kind of a big deal. On Tuesday afternoon we stopped at a local campo sportivo to get our run on. The track is in need of serious repair:But, it’s the only flat spot to run on this mountain and I am very grateful for its existence. One-mile warm-up, two miles fast, and one mile easy. I thought I would die on the two fast miles, but was able to hang in the 6:35-6:40 range. Maybe I should fuel with red wine more often…Or maybe I should drink spring water straight from the earth more often. There are fresh spring water fountains all over the villages surrounding Mt.Etna — how cool!We are staying at the most beautiful hotel, by the way.Scenic views all around, plus an awesome pool! We’ve been trying to do 10-20 laps in the evenings to cool off and unwind after our daily adventures.Yesterday we had an epic lunch at Barone di Villagrande winery. This hundred-year old vineyard sits in the town of Milo on the side of Mt. Etna — which means its grapes are rooted in some very volcanic soil.We took a tour with the head winemaker, who is the tenth generation of family members to operate Villagrande. You could tell he was so proud of his family and his wine. Not a bad view from the “office,” either…Check out these crazy huge barrels! They actually don’t use them anymore — over the years, the family has found that small barrels made of Etna’s chestnut wood work the best for producing delicious wine.After the tour we got to taste it all ourselves. Over the course of three hours with five different wine pairings. We also had a special guest visit. Can you spot him in the second photo?I’ve thought about all of the pasta I’ve eaten in the past few days and after deep consideration, I think I can say that this is the best pasta I’ve had to date. Basil, tomato, pine nuts, and a big scoop of ricotta. The ricotta in Italy is so fresh! I need to talk to my Publix manager and see if he can start importing it in mass quantities for me…
The main dish: wild pig from a local park (which apparently is totally legal here) in a delicious plum sauce.By hour three of lunch we were having a pretty good time — and this pana cotta was too beautiful not to pose with. We also convinced our waitress to let us try the winery’s grappa selection. Yikes!Thanks for a memorable experience, Barone di Villagrande! If you are ever in Sicily, this vineyard is definitely worth a stop.
I’ve got a lot more to tell you, but I need to hit post before our Internet cuts out! I hope to post again soon — please send warm thoughts of WiFi our way