Soul of Sicily Week Long Cooking Program - Created & Presented by with Renée Restivo (in collaboration with Sicily's Best Home Cooks!)

The sumptuous dream of visiting Sicily -- of quaint villages with cobble stone streets and people nodding buon giorno; of relaxing sun and rolling hills dotted with dry stone walls and olive trees; of undiscovered fishing villages and carafes of nero d'avola wine; of fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil and feasts with views of the sea and olive groves.

A dream about more than simply seeing sights and checking off places. A dream about living like a Sicilian for a week instead of just peeking in from within a tour group. But to truly live like a Sicilian, you must first master a few essentials, most notably, how to cook and eat as Sicilians do. And so we invite you to come spend a week with us at Soul of Sicily, where cooking lessons are located in the historical center of the Baroque world heritage town of Noto, surrounded by Italy's most pristine and bountiful countryside.

At Soul of Sicily, you can easily learn to cook like a true Sicilian, one day preparing a traditional home made pasta dish, with a special recipe for la norma from nonna's cucina; the next day sampling flavor pairing that can only be born in Sicily, such as sweet Sicilian almond milk or chocolate gelato, prepared by Italy's most famous pastry Chef, whose home is Noto. Three cooking lessons with home cooks and experts transform you into veritable experts on traditional Sicilian food.

In addition to learning to cook like a Sicilian, you will also learn to eat like one -- long, leisurely lunches in family settings, sweeping views, and four-course dinners of authentic food and wine. All meals are accompanied by local wines, and the week is filled with tastings of cheeses, chocolate, olive oil and more. 

Soul of Sicily programs are always focused on: meeting local Sicilians and being a part of the culture for a week, preparing and tasting authentic Sicilian food, innovative use of ingredients, traditional Sicilian technique and presentation.

Our Autumn Olive program emphasizes almonds, olives (Oct.) olive oil, eggplant, tomatoes, pasta, pizza, fresh seafood, fresh fruits and the grape harvest (Sept) and more. Each course devotes attention to pairing foods with wines.

Our Spring program emphasizes the grain harvest (flour for Sicilian style pizzas, stuffed breads and breads), wild oregano, thyme, capers, sage, wild asparagus, fava beans, ricotta, chocolate, sausage, seafood, pasta, fresh fruits, wine and more.

Piatti tipici we may try are cannoli siciliani, pasta alla norma, fresh sword fish and tuna, capers, fresh seasoned olives, fava bean soup, artichokes, gelato, almond granita.

The package price for the program includes accommodations in Noto, Welcome Dinner, cooking lessons, breakfast each day, lunch on each day of our lessons, Farewell Dinner, visits to nearby towns, tastings, wine with meals, taxes, tips and airport or train transfers to and from Catania airport to Noto. There are no hidden costs or charges.

Itinerary

You arrive on Sunday and are welcomed by our driver who picks you up at Catania airport between 3PM and 4PM. The remainder of the day is yours to settle in and explore Noto. Upon your arrival, we will give you a map and recommendations for dinner in Noto.

On Monday morning at 9AM we will have a group orientation at breakfast and you will be provided with a Soul of Sicily apron.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, after a full Sicilian breakfast, home cooking lessons are held from 10:30AM to 1pm. Classes are small, hands-on, and make use of all-natural, organic, seasonal ingredients. Essential Sicilian techniques you may learn are pasta making, fish and meat preparation, antipasti preparation and pizza making.

Lunch is from 1 to 2:30 and features foods prepared during the morning lessons. All lunches are three courses accompanied by local wines and served at a formally set table.

Afternoon excursions take place from 4:30PM to 7:30 and are led by professional English speaking guides who will introduce you to undiscovered treasures as Noto on Monday (the Baroque jewel that was the setting of many Italian films and TV programs), and the traditional fishing village of Marzamemmi on Wednesday (where Renée  was a culinary guide in her appearance on the Travel Channel's show about Sicily).

Tuesday and Thursday are full excursion days. On Tuesday, we visit Siracusa, with a tour of the vibrant food market to shop for ingredients we'll cook the next day. Then we will visit the Duomo on Via Minerva which was a Greek temple and is now a church devoted to Santa Lucia, followed by some time on your own to shop and explore the historical center. On Thursday, you will head to the Baroque town of Modica, famous for chocolate making and sweets, followed by a stop in Ragusa for sightseeing, exploring and shopping on you own. Meals on excursion days are on your own and are not included in the program price.

Friday afternoon you have free time to enjoy the town of Noto, hike Vendicari nature reserve or relax at pristine beaches on your own just minute away.

Dinner on final day of the program is a feast planned by Renée and is included in the program. There are three days (Siracusa and Modica/Ragusa) where you are free to have lunch on your own and four days where dinner is on your own. The price of those meals are not included in the program. Your Sicilian experience reaches its climax on Friday night at our graduation festival dinner, where you receive a diploma certifying your newly acquired status as a Soul of Sicily Program Graduate, in other words, a well-accomplished Sicilian cook! Contact info@soulofsicily.com to hold your place!