Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ancient ruins, Tuna and Wine: Sicily Has it All

Heading to Giarre, our guide Alessandro took us to a nature preserve, where there was an ancient tuna 'factory' on the southeastern coast.

Alessandro told us that this lagoon was filled with flamingos a few weeks ago

After a mile hike we arrived at the tuna processing area; this dates back to 5th century BC.  We took a stroll around the area and saw what was left of the ruins.

this is all that is left of the Greek ruins here

salt forming here

Tuna ovens

The tuna was cooked with steam, then preserved in salt, or in olive oil.  Heading out of the nature preserve, we were taken to Marzamemi, a small fishing village, where there is a modern tuna processor where we were able to see some of the process as well as observe the the workers canning the famous tomatoes from Pacchino.

We were treated to a tuna tasting, and then let loose to shop
Bottarga salted

Tomato canning operation

This goes on most of the spring and summer during tomato season

After this, we headed to the port, for a stroll through the old town.  Marzamemi is now a summer vacation spot, with few fishing boats in the port anymore.
We happened upon a bride and groom

Lots of cute little restaurants

The flowers here are extraordinary, even Dr. C. commented on how vibrant the colors are.  Volcanic soil can be a good thing!  As we headed out of Marzamemi, we head to Zisola winery, owned by the Mazzei family, who also have a winery in Tuscany.  A beautiful place, the winery has some local varietals that are quite interesting.

wine pairing snacks

Olive oil and oregano over toasted bread

After a lovely wine tasting in a beautiful setting it was time to head to our last destination on this amazing trip.  We arrived in Giarre, half way between Catania and Taormina at the base of Mt. Etna which is an active volcano.

Tonight we were eating at the hotel---just look at the bread board! 

Mille foglie of potato and Ragusano cheese

It wouldn't be dessert in Sicily without a cannolo

Apple Crostata
Tomorrow we are headed to Bronte home of the best pistachios on earth, then to a winery for lunch and tasting, and finally honey producers who are the cutest couple on the planet.  Ciao for now.

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