Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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(Options: Italian Language Classes, Customized Itineraries, Longer or Shorter Stays)
Sicily, Italy - 4 or 6 nights
Available March to October

 

Sicily invites you to discover its authenticity by engaging in hands on cooking classes with a chef who was born right in the surrounding area where the program takes place. Learn recipes that he learned both as a young man from his family and as a trained chef with instruction by a well known chef in Sicily. His gentle nature and passion for food will be evident as he guides you through the lesson. Stay in beautiful accommodations, explore fishing villages, markets and indulge in incredible food and wine during a four or six night exploration of northern Sicily.

 

Enjoy a culinary program which has been designed for food lovers and those who love to explore different cultures. You will see charming medieval towns, be exposed to centuries old traditions, meet warm and gracious people who are proud of their culture and heritage and of course proud of their outstanding food and wine. The two itineraries below have been created to introduce you to the secrets and traditions of Sicilian cooking and the Sicilian land. You will learn how to prepare some of the most popular recipes of the culinary side of Sicily. You will be fascinated by the history of this big island which has been conquered 13 times over the centuries. With visits to local producers of olive oil, wine, cheese, cakes and the traditional "Manna" you will become immersed in the traditions of this beautiful land. You will stay in a 16th century Sicilian Villa, have cooking classes with a delightful Sicilian chef and taste fine wines from the region with a professional sommelier explaining the beauty of Sicilian wines. Bella Sicilia awaits your arrival!

 

 

FOUR NIGHT ITINERARY

 

Day One - ARRIVAL

 

 

Arrival to the Palermo International Airport late morning/early afternoon. Transfer and check in to the accommodation. You will stay in an amazing 16th Sicilian Villa right on the Tyrrhenian sea just a few kilometers from Cefalù splendidly restored from the noble family who bought it in 1868. Meet your gracious hosts and get acquainted with your new surroundings. There you will enjoy your welcome appetizer with a glass of good Sicilian Spumante and you will receive a welcome pack which includes: cookbook, apron, chef's hat, your personal handmade and hand painted ceramic mug and course guidelines.


In the late afternoon you travel to Castelbuono with your hosts which is a nice village in the heart of the Madonie Mountains and well known all around Sicily for its culinary typical specialties especially related to cheese, meat and mushrooms. On Sundays Sicilian families from all over travel to Castelbuono to taste those specialties. Welcome dinner at one of the traditional taverns in the area.


Back to the villa and overnight. 

 

Day Two - Cefalù

 

 

After a full breakfast at the villa, meet your hosts at 10:00am to travel to Cefalù down town for a walking tour of this marvelous Norman town. We will purchase fish for the afternoon hands-on cooking classes with typical fish dishes. This is a quite relaxing walking tour but please wear comfortable shoes as you might decide to climb up to "the Rock"! On the top of “la Rocca” there are the remains of the Cefalù Castle. The structure dates back to the 13th – 14th  centuries. Before arriving to the top there are the remnants of the Temple of Diana, a Megalithic building which dates back to the 9th century BC. It is believed to have originally had a sacred function connected with local water worship; in fact, into it there is a cistern which also dates back to the 9th century BC.


CEFALU’ WALKING TOUR (1 hour approx)
Piazza Duomo and The Cathedral Santissimo Salvatore (inside)
Corso Ruggero and Via Bordonaro “the old town”
Il Molo “the Pier”
The Medival Washhouse
The Rock and the Temple of Diana (optional, if you like to climb up to the top on your own for an amazing landscape)

 

Rest of the morning free for shopping or relaxing. Lunch on your own (cost not included). Shuttle to the villa at 2:00pm for your first hands-on cooking class starting at 3:00pm. You prepare a four course Sicilian dinner. Small break in the middle of the lesson with a glass of wine, water, orange juice or coffee.


TODAY’S MENU (3 hours approx)


Antipasto – Sarde a beccafico (Rolled Stuffed Sardines)
Pasta – Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines)
Main Course – Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Squid)
Side Dish – Insalata di Arance e Finocchi (Orange and Fennel Sicilian Salad)
Dessert – Granita al Limone (Lemon Granita)
 
Dinner of what you have prepared with excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier.

 

Day Three - MANNA

 

Today we focus on Manna which is the sap of an ash tree, used medicinally, but it also has a sweet taste so has been recently used in pastry making and even in cosmetics. After breakfast we visit the local Manna producer who will show you this world wide famous product. The process of the production of Manna is preserved by a Slow Food Presidium (www.slowfood.com) so the tradition can be passed down for generations to come. Free taste of those wonderful products. August is the right period to see production of Manna. Free taste of Manna and packed light lunch in the middle of the Madonie Park. *Please note on this day the walking can be a bit challenging as the village is quite hilly. 

 

Back to the villa for your second hands-on cooking class starting at 3:00pm. You prepare a four course Sicilian dinner. Small break in the middle of the lesson with a glass of wine, water, orange juice or coffee.
 
TODAY’S MENU (3 hours approx)


Antipasto – Caponata (Caponata)
Pasta Fresca – Tagliatelle con Funghi e Pomodoro (Fresh Pasta: Tagliatelle with Mushrooms and Fresh Tomato Sauce)
Main Course – Polpette di Melanzana (Eggplant Balls)
Side Dish – Cipolle in Agrodolce (Onions in Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Dessert – Testa di Turco (“Turkish Head”)
 
 
After the class, relax a bit before having dinner of what you have prepared with excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier.

 

DAY FOUR - WINE

 

Today the focus is on wine. After breakfast, travel to the ancient monastery which is now a winery to understand the wine-making production process. After a tour of the cellar you sit down to enjoy wine tasting and some delicious specialties.


Back to the villa for your third hands-on cooking class (3:00pm) for another four course Sicilian dinner. Small break in the middle of the lesson with a glass of wine, water, orange juice or coffee
 

 

TODAY’S MENU (3 hours approx) will be "Street Food".

 
After the class there will have be a final farewell dinner consisting of what you have prepared with excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier. You will be presented with certifications for completing your cooking instruction.

 

DAY FIVE

 

After breakfast transfer back to Palermo International Airport. Arrivederci!

 

 

SIX NIGHT ITINERARY

 

 

DAY ONE - SUNDAY - ARRIVAL

 

 

Welcome to Sicily! Arrive Palermo International Airport late morning/early afternoon with a transfer to Palermo city and check into a 4 or 5 star hotel (according to availability).

 

Your dinner will take place in a typical restaurant in the city.

 

Start enjoying the beauty of the Sicilian cuisine, paired, of course, with some wonderful Sicilian wine.

 

DAY TWO - MONDAY - PALERMO

 

Breakfast at the hotel and meet your hosts at 10:00am. You will have an amazing walking tour of the town so please wear comfortable shoes: it will be an extremely nice walk but quite long.


PALERMO WALKING TOUR (4 hours approx)


The Politeama Theater (outside)
Corso Ruggero Settimo and Via Libertà – “the lounge”
The Massimo Theater (outside)
Via Bara dell’Olivella con il Teatro dei Pupi
Via Bandiera
Piazza San Domenico – Via Roma
The Vucciria Market
Corso Vittorio Emanuele
I Quattro Canti
Piazza della Vergogna (o Pretoria) with the Fontain
The Cathedral (outside)
The Palazzo dei Normanni (outside)
 
After that you will enjoy traditional street food and soon after (approx 2:00pm) you travel to Monreale, the Medival town known for its Arab-Norman Cathedral which was built in the 12th century


MONREALE TOUR (1 hour approx)/The Cathedral of Monreale (inside)
 
After that you are free to wander around and at about 4:00pm depart for Cefalù, your base for the entire week. You will stay in an amazing 16th Sicilian Villa right on the Tyrrhenian sea just a few kilometers from Cefalù splendidly restored from the noble family who bought it in 1868. Meet your hosts and get acquainted with your new surroundings. There you will enjoy your welcome appetizer with a glass of good Sicilian Spumante and you will receive a welcome pack which includes: cookbook, apron, chef's hat, your personal handmade and hand painted ceramic mug and course guidelines.

 

At 7:00pm take the shuttle to Cefalù. There, you can freely arrange your dinner (cost not included) and start getting to know this charming Norman town. Cefalù by night is amazing … enjoy walking on the promenade, then use a taxi to get back to the villa (cost not included – approx 15€ the taxi ride)

 

 

DAY THREE - TUESDAY - CEFALU

 

 

After a full breakfast at the villa, meet your hosts at 10:00am to travel to Cefalù down town for a walking tour of this marvelous Norman town and purchase fish for the afternoon hands-on cooking classes with typical fish dishes. This is quite a relaxing walking tour but wear comfortable shoes anyway as you might decide to climb up to the Rock. On the top of “la Rocca” there are the remains of the Cefalù Castle. The structure dates back to the 13th – 14th  centuries. Before arriving to the top there are the remnants of the Temple of Diana, a Megalithic building which dates back to the 9th century BC. It is believed to have originally had a sacred function connected with local water worship; in fact, into it there is a cistern which also dates back to the 9th century BC.


CEFALU’ WALKING TOUR (1 hour approx)


Piazza Duomo and The Cathedral Santissimo Salvatore (inside)
Corso Ruggero and Via Bordonaro “the old town”
Il Molo “the Pier”
The Medival Washhouse
The Rock and the Temple of Diana (optional, if you like to climb up to the top on your own for an amazing landscape)

 

Rest of the morning free for shopping or relaxing. Lunch on your own (cost not included). Shuttle to the villa at 2:00pm with your first hands-on cooking class starts at 3:00pm. You prepare a four course Sicilian dinner. Small break in the middle of the lesson with a glass of wine, water, orange juice or coffee.


TODAY’S MENU (3 hours approx)


Antipasto – Sarde a beccafico (Rolled Stuffed Sardines)
Pasta – Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines)
Main Course – Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Squid)
Side Dish – Insalata di Arance e Finocchi (Orange and Fennel Sicilian Salade)
Dessert – Granita al Limone (Lemon Granita)
 
After the class enjoy a dinner of your preparations with excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier.

 

DAY FOUR - WEDNESDAY - MANNA AND WINE

 

Today the focus is on Manna and wine. After breakfast we travel to Pollina in the heart of the Madonie area, for a true taste of an authentic small-village in Sicily and we visit the Manna producer who will show you this world wide famous product. The process of the production of Manna is preserved by a Slow Food Presidium. August is the right period to see production of Manna. *Please note on this day the walking can be a bit challenging as the village is quite hilly. 

 

Following this, we spend the morning and have lunch at an ancient monastery which is now a beautiful winery to understand the wine-making production process. After a tour of the cellar, sit down and enjoy wine tasting and some delicious specialties.


Back to the villa, where you will start working on your second hands-on cooking class (3:00pm) for another four course Sicilian dinner. Small break in the middle of the lesson with a glass of wine, water, orange juice or coffee


TODAY’S MENU (3 hours approx)


Antipasto – Caponata (Caponata)
Pasta Fresca – Tagliatelle con Funghi e  Pomodoro (Fresh Pasta: Tagliatelle with Mushrooms and Fresh Tomato Sauce)
Main Course – Polpette di Melanzana (Eggplant Balls)
Side Dish – Cipolle in Agrodolce (Onions in Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Dessert – Testa di Turco (“Turkish Head”)
 
 
Dinner of your preparations followed by excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier.

 

DAY FIVE - THURSDAY - CASTELBUONO

 

This is a day dedicated to pastry. After breakfast you travel to Castelbuono with your hosts, especially famous for good food and for the Ventimiglia Caste which its name derives, and around which the city grew up in the 14th century. The construction of the Castle began in 1316, by order of Count Francesco I of Ventimiglia, over the ruins of the ancient Byzantine town of Ypsigro. Hence its original name, “Castello del buon aere” ("Castle of good air"), from which the name Castelbuono is derived - literally meaning "good castle". You will visit the castle followed by a trip to the traditional Thursday market of the village full of handmade local products (dried tomatoes, any kind of pecorino or tuma cheese, marmalades, honey, pistachio, oregano and any kind of flavors).


Then a visit to the world wide famous local cakes producer "Fiasconaro" with tastings of those not industrial splendid products (among which the "panettone", the typical Christmas cake conceived differently under a Sicilian and Madonite point of view, with pistachio cream). For lunch you will enjoy the exquisite and traditional brioche with ice-cream, the traditional Sicilian summer lunch. You will understand why!


Back to the villa for your last cooking class lasting which lasts about 3 hours, dedicated to the Sicilian street food.  
 

After the class, dinner will follow and will consist of your preparations with excellent wine pairings provided by a sommelier.

 

DAY SIX - FRIDAY - DAY LONG EXCURSION OF YOUR CHOICE WITH FINAL DINNER

 

Today is a special day dedicated to a long excursion.

 

TAORMINA ON YOUR OWN


Entry Gate “Porta Messina”
The Greek Theater (Inside)
Corso Umberto
Piazza Santa Caterina
Belvedere
Piazza IX Aprile
Piazza Duomo
Shopping: you can find here exceptional jewely that utilize natural materials like shells, the famous Sicilian coral, semiprecious stones and lava


 
AEOLIAN ISLAND: LIPARI AND VULCANO


Bus transfer from the villa to the Harbour of Cefalù. The motorboat leaves at 7:45am and arrives at 9:30am in Lipari. Free time to visit the town of Lipari. At 1:00pm departure for Vulcano, arrival at 1:15pm. Free time to visit the Island with the possibility to take a mud bath or to go the terme SPA. Departure from Vulcano at 4:45pm for the circumnavigation of the two Islands, where you can see Rock Stacks, the “Horse cave” and the “Venus swimming pool”. Arrival at the harbour of Cefalù at 7:00pm and transfer back to the vila, with an English speaking guide.

 

You can also choose a day trip to Siracusa or Agrigento.


 
Back to the villa for the final farewell dinner.

 

DAY SEVEN - SATURDAY - ARRIVEDERCI

 

After breakfast transfer back to Palermo International Airport.

 

 

*itineraries are subject to changes for reasons beyond our control (weather, for example); during the visits to the local producers, demonstration of the production of Manna, wine and olive of oil only in the correct period of the year

 

*Menus listed above in both itineraries are examples and depend on availability of produce/season, etc.

 

   

 

NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS (minimum 2 participants)
 
Arrival at the villa at 11:30am for the morning class or 4:30pm for the afternoon class
Welcome drink
Introduction of the day’s menu and into the kitchen for the hands-on cooking class
 
This is an example of a menu - it may be changed according to ingredients availability. It will be based on well-known Sicilian recipes, paying particular attention to fresh pasta, fish and vegetables


Antipasto – Sardines “a Beccafico” (the Sicilian famous stuffed and rolled sardines)
Fresh Pasta – Tagliatelle alla Norma (guests will enjoy preparation of the dough for the fresh pasta!)
Main Course – Stuffed Calamari
Side Dish – Sicilian Orange Salade
Dessert – “Testa di Turco” (a typical dessert from the Madonie area)

 

1:30pm  or 8pm - Enjoy a delicious lunch (or dinner if taking the afternoon class) of what you have prepared - paired with a good bottle of Sicilian wine and home-made limoncello after lunch/dinner

 

GROUP SIZE

 

A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 7 participants.

 

(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)

 

 

 

HOW TO ARRIVE

 

Closest Airports/Train Stations

 

From Palermo Airport to the Villa – 61 miles; 1 hour and 10 minutes
From Palermo Train Station to the Villa  – 42 miles; 50 minutes
From Cefalù Train Station to the Villa – 2 miles; 5 minutes
From Catania Airport to the Villa – 110 miles; 1 hour and 45 minutes

 
 
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.

 

   

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

 

2017 Fees Per Person

 

FOUR NIGHT ITINERARY

 

Double Room/US$1825
Single Room/US$2100
Single Participant in Program/US$2975

 

SIX NIGHT ITINERARY

 

Double Room/US$2325
Single Room/US$2575
Single Participant in Program/US$3450

 

NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS

 

Based on 2-3 participants: US$185
Based on 4-14 participants: US$155

 

*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation

 

Deposit

After availability is confirmed, a 30% deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date. 

2017 Dates

 

Available March to October upon request, based on availability

 

Included

 

FOUR NIGHT ITINERARY
 
*Transfer from/to Palermo airport
*Four (4) nights' accommodations at 3 star villa
*Breakfast daily
*Welcome dinner
*Packed lunch on Day 3
*Light lunch and wine tastings on Day 4
*Three (3) hands-on cooking classes (Day 2, 3 and 4) as per program with following dinners paired with excellent Sicilian wines
*Coffee and pool at your disposal all day long at Villa
*Taxes

 

NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
    

*Flights to/from Sicily
*Lunch on Day 2
*Personal expenses
*Gratuities
*Insurance
*Everything not included in “INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM”
*Taxi if needed

 

SIX NIGHT ITINERARY

 

*Transfer from/to Palermo airport
*Six (6) nights' accommodation (1 night in Palermo – 4 or 5 stars hotel according to availability - and 5 nights in Cefalù at a 3 star villa)
*Breakfast daily
*Welcoming appetizer
*Lunch on Day 2 (street food)
*Light lunch and wine tastings on Day 4
*Sicilian summer lunch and pastry tasting on Day 5
*Welcoming dinner on the day of your arrival at a traditional Palermo trattoria
*Three (3) hands-on cooking classes (Day 3, 4 and 5) as per program with following dinners paired with excellent Sicilian wines and liquor (limoncello or others from our kitchen) after dinner
*Final dinner on day 6
*Beverages with all included lunches and dinners
*Welcome pack (cookbook, chef’s hat, apron, personalized hand painted ceramic mug, certificate and course guide lines)
*Private transfers and excursions to Palermo, Monreale, Cefalù and Taormina (or Siracusa / Agrigento / Aeolian Islands) as per program
*Entrance fees as per program
*Wine tasting at a winery), pastry tasting and Manna tasting as per program
*Coffee, tea and pool at your disposal all day long at Villa
*Taxes
 
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
   

*Flights to/from Sicily
*Dinner on Day 2
*Lunch on Day 3 and on day 6
*Personal expenses
*Gratuities
*Insurance
*Everything not included in “INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAM”
*Taxi if needed

 

NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS

 

*Leisure cookery class of approximately 4 hours
*Espresso, American coffee, water
*Four course meal from the cooking class
*Sicilian wine and water during meal, limoncello after lunch
*Certificate of participation
*Folder of the recipes


NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE


*Gratuities
*Insurance
*Anything not expressly listed as included

 

*Please inquire about availability and pricing for a 4 star accommodation in Céfalu

 

 

 


For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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CANCELLATION POLICY

 

Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.

 

   


CLIENT REMARKS

 

Susie H., NSW, Australia

"I had the most fantastic time in Cefalu, it exceeded all of my expectations. The hosts were just fantastic, catered to my every need and so much more. They made me feel like one of the family, it made my trip just that more special because of them. The day trips were great and were exactly what I initially hoped I would do. I got to see, taste and experience the real Sicilian culture. Thank you so much to you and your team at Active Gourmet Holidays, it was an experience of a life time and I couldn't fault any part of it."

Susan D., Montgomery, Alabama

"The cooking classes were great. The chef is not only a professional but also as nice as he could be! The tours were well thought out and we were taken care of every step of the way. This was our sixth trip to Italy and we ranked this as our best! Go and have fun!"

John F., Washington, D.C.

"We had a magnificent time! There couldn't have been more gracious hosts, and the food was so much fun to prepare and eat! Jo Ann was incredibly responsive and provided all of the information we needed to get to what was one of the most beautiful villas we visited in Sicily. Next time, we might just stay there!

 

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MAP*

This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE

 

 

*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.

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COOKING IN THE DORDOGNE

"It was an absolutely marvelous week. The accommodations were superb. I loved the course, the host, and the Chambre d'Hote which is a lovely country house equipped with everything one could possibly need. I was incredibly pleased to when dealing with AGH. All in all, a fantastic experience that I hope to be able to repeat, perhaps in Italy next time." Anita D., Encinitas, California

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