Marzipan fruits
Marzipan fruits

Food Holidays

PALERMO - Mozzarella, marzipan fruits and markets of Western Sicily

Crossroads of the ‘Middle Sea’, Sicily has been occupied by most of the Mediterranean’s great powers in its long history. Echoes of Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian, Moorish, Norman, Spanish and Italian conquerors abound in the island’s architecture, culture, dialect and – most enticingly – cuisine. Our short break, based in Palermo, introduces the iconic, distinctive and multi-cultural tastes of Western Sicily, from humble street food and bustling produce markets to zingy limoncello, vibrantly coloured marzipan fruits and the freshest mozzarella cheese. We make our own Sicilian specialities at a cookery class, discover how the island’s olive oil attains its radiant green colour and learn how ‘pesto’ can mean many different things.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Expert guide
  •  All tastings in the itinerary

Today's Price

Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £190

Tour highlights:

  • Stroll the lively food markets of Palermo and sample traditional tastes
  • A Sicilian cookery class with talented local cooks
  • Join the monks of San Francesco to make the island’s famous marzipan fruits
  • Sample olive oil so fine it can be tasted like wine
  • Savour the freshest mozzarella at a renowned cheese-maker
  • Participate in a limoncello workshop and tasting

Tour details

Dates 20 September 2020 - 24 September 2020
Duration 5 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £190 Balance due by 28 June 2020
Tour code G03A20

Book Now or call 01453 823328 if you have any questions

20 September 2020: Itinerary

We fly from London to Palermo this afternoon and transfer to our hotel. A light dinner at a quality local restaurant follows. Our base in Palermo will be situated in the very heart of this historic city.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

No gastronomic stay in Italy would be complete without a stroll around a food market to marvel at the variety and quality of produce, much of it unique to its region – Palermo has several, but we spend an hour or so this morning exploring one of the best: Mercato Del Capo. This is the food market dialled up to 11, with fish and fruit sellers roaring the pre-eminence of their wares and numerous stands serving up sublime street food, including outstanding arancini. Resembling in many ways the bazaars of the orient, Del Capo recalls the Arab rule of Sicily. We then continue to a cookery class at La Botte 1962, a lovely family-run restaurant in Monreale particularly noted for its seafood. We learn about the varied tastes of the area and create our own delicious lunch.

In the afternoon, we return to Palermo for a short walking tour, after which the remainder of the day and the evening is at your leisure.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

A short drive from the hotel is the Biddeci dairy, where mozzarella, ricotta and other cheeses are produced according to time-honoured traditional methods. We watch the fresh mozzarella being made, with milk from the Mediterranean buffalo, and shaped into the ‘white gold’ of Italy – a mild, creamy cheese best tasted this fresh.

The 16th century Church of San Francesco di Paola would be worth visiting for its richly frescoed nave and fine works of sculpture alone, but it also enjoys some gastronomic fame. Here, the monks create amazingly lifelike marzipan fruits – as well as being divinely tasty, these frutta di Martorana have become part of the religious tradition of the area, being left for children as a gift from their ancestors on All Souls Day. We get a lesson in marzipan fruit-making. The evening is free for you to choose from Palermo’s many superb restaurants.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

Sicily is world-renowned for the quality of its olive oil, and some of the finest is produced at Frantoio Vallone. The best olives from sun-drenched Sicilian groves are picked by hand and cold-pressed in a matter of hours. The terrain, climate and painstaking attention to detail in the production cycle combine to create a multi award-winning olive oil with a vibrant green colour and complex taste, blending grassy, fruity and spicy notes. Naturally, we sample some for ourselves. A lunch of busiate (handmade, corkscrew-shaped pasta typical of the area, dressed with almonds and pecorino cheese) will be provided at a local trattoria.

What better relaxing activity for the afternoon than limoncello tasting? This glorious lemon-flavoured liquor is, for many, one of the quintessential tastes of the Mediterranean and, at Limonio, we get the chance to walk among the orchards, see the production process, attend a masterclass and of course taste the delicious finished product. Dinner at a quality local restaurant is included this evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

A day at leisure invites you to discover the rich history and grandiose architecture of the Sicilian capital, before transferring to the airport for our flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast

  • La Botte 1962 cookery class, with lunch to follow
  • Guided walk around Del Capo food market
  • Mozzarella tasting
  • Marzipan fruit-making workshop
  • Olive oil tasting
  • Limoncello workshop

20 September 2020: Additional Info

20 September 2020: Accommodation

All of our destinations are known for their rich, cultural heritage, as well as their cuisine, and these holidays invite you to appreciate some magical towns and cities. We will be staying in high quality (generally 3*-4*) hotels.

20 September 2020: Enquiries

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