Our April journey with #ItalianFWT takes us to the lovely Italian island of Sicily. Due to the date of April’s #ItalianFWT I was considering passing up this month’s Italian journey since I have been working so much on Easter and Passover articles. However, when the creator of #ItalianFWT, Jennifer of Vino Travels, announced our April stop in Sicily I knew I could not pass it up. Sicily is an enchanted island paradise, the perfect place to explore Italian people, culture, food and wine. In fact, when health care professionals speak of Americans benefitting from eating a “Mediterranean diet,” Sicily is the embodiment of this diet. So please join me and my fellow #ItalianFWT bloggers as we journey to the magical island of Sicily.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is the largest of all the Italian islands. Sicily offers extraordinary beaches, mountains and great volcanoes. It is the perfect vacation for those who love exploring nature as well as those who love ancient artifacts, art and great food and wine. A few highlights on the island of Sicily include Etna, an active volcano that sits on Sicily’s eastern coast and the natural parks that surround it; Grotta del Gelo, the world’s only perpetual ice glacer at that latitude; and the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Aeolian Islands, Agrigento with its Valley of the Temples, Syracuse and Taormina.
The regional capital of Sicily is Palermo, stretching northward into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is known for its majestic beaches and vibrant colors of the sea and land contrasting against each other. Palermo is also a great city to explore ancient architectural treasures as well as splendid historical Italian churches! And since this article is published the day before Easter it is worthy to note Palermo is a fantastic place to celebrate Holy Week. As the Discover Italia web site explained, “The Holy Week rites in Piana degli Albanesi trace Greek-Orthodox traditions, whereas Holy Representations are held in Mondello and Prizzi. On Easter Sunday, the Abballu di li diavoli (dance of the devils) is held. Each of these fairs narrates the allegorical battle between winter and spring, between darkness and light.”
So now that we have explored the beautiful island of Sicily it is time to wine and dine like Sicilians! In my own home cooking the Sicilian style “Mediterranean diet” fits perfect with my taste and lifestyle. Furthermore, I did not even have to purchase a new wine for this post because I already have one of my favorite Sicilian wines in my wine cellar.
Donnafugata Sedara Sicilia DOC Rosso: This wine was crafted predominately from Nero d’Avola, along with Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a small percentage of other grapes. This wine poured a bright ruby into the glass and opened with an inviting aroma of red and black fruits, fresh violets and a hint of spice. On the palate this well-structured wine offered round acidity with a clean finish. Flavors of cherries, strawberries, black berries and plums blend beautifully with fresh Asian spices and additional floral notes with a touch of earthiness. This light and pleasing wine was fermented in stainless steel with maceration on the skins for 10 days in moderate temperatures, then fined for nine months in cement tanks before an additional 6 months in the bottle. This wine contained 13.3% alcohol. It was delicious with food or as a meditation wine; perfect for spring!
Donnafugata is an iconic Sicilian winery crafting a wide portfolio of outstanding wines that focus on quality, sustainability and family. I strongly encourage you to visit the Donnafugata web site to learn more about them, view their entire portfolio of wines and seek them out at your favorite wine retailer.
To learn more about Donnafugata and experience a touch of the beauty of Sicily please watch this video:
Because Sicilians have such a rich and fresh diet I chose to prepare several courses to explore the foods of Sicily with the Donnafugata Sedara. We began with our antipasto course of an arugula salad with blood oranges, avocadoes, toasted sliced almonds and shaved regiano cheese with a homemade light citrus vinaigrette made with Italian EVOO; primi was fresh pasta with homemade pistachio pesto (I could not find Sicilian pistachios so I used American pistachios but it was still delicious), secondo was pan seared sea bass, topped with a light lemon butter caper sauce and served with grilled artichoke hearts with a garlic aoli; and finally the dolce of cannoli. This meal could have only been better if we were actually eating it in Sicily! Each course of crafted from fresh ingredients found all over the beautiful island of Sicily were outstanding. My husband asked me to make the exact same meal again the following night. Thank you Sicily for providing the world with such wonderful fresh vegetables, pastas, cheeses, seafood and delicious desserts and wine! I could eat like this every day!
Please continue to explore the beauty of Sicily by reading my fellow #ItalianFWT writers Sicilian experiences:
Vino Travels – Wine & Food Sicily: Inzolila & Arancini
Curious Appetite – Sicilian Cannoli and wine pairings
Cooking Chat – Pairing for Linguini with Cod and Asparagus
Enofylz Wine Blog – A Taste of Sicily-Tuna and Seabass Spiedini #ItalianFWT
FoodWineClick – From Etna Bianco to Marsala, A Sicilian Wine Tour
Girls Gotta Drink – Etna Wine: Volcanic wines that don’t taste like ash
We are live on twitter today and throughout the weekend at #ItalianFWT. Join us and share your food, wine and travel experiences in Sicily. We’d love to hear from you!
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with this article on Sicily, food, wine and culture comes from this great jazz video done by Donnafugata. Just like Rockin Red, Donnafugata gets the connection between music and wine. This lovely jazz song with a touch of a reggae beat provided the perfect groove to understand the simplicity and elegance of the Donnafugata Sedara as well as the beautiful Sicilian people and culture.
Plan your own Sicilian wine and food adventure and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!