Marsala and Erice, Sicily - day 3
Our 10-day excursion to Sicily with the Food and Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gave us an insider's look at Sicily's wine production and cultural heritage.
We began our tour in Palermo and started making our way counter clockwise 3/4 of the way around the island. Our third day was a busy day, as all our days were. We visited the western coast of Sicily, touring the Salt Pans and the Florio Winery in Marsala in the morning, then traveled to Erice, a medieval town - said to be the ancient birthplace of Venus - in the afternoon. Being a trained pastry chef, I especially enjoyed visiting Erice - known for its pastry shops.
Salt Pans of Sicily
Migratory birds like herons and flamingos stop along the Sicilian coast on their way to Africa in the autumn, but in spring, our timing did not coincide with the birds migration.
Florio Winery - Marsala, Sicily
Our tour bus could get almost to the top of Mt. Erice, but motor vehicles could not go the entire way. We put on our walking shoes and enjoyed some exercise. Once in Erice, the view overlooking the city of Trapani was spectacular!
Sicily has several castle remains. Two castles are located in Erice: the Pepoli Castle (now a hotel), which dates to Saracen times, and the Venus Castle, which dates back to the Norman time period. We were near the Venus Castle.
|Wild Borage along the walk to Erice|
As soon as we got back to the States, I ordered her book in English. In Sicily, Maria only had her book available in Italian. I'm inspired by her classic Sicilian pastries and hope to make some of her recipes.
Maria Grammatico's baked goods and confections were truly works of pastry art. I could have spent the whole day there. Her shop was welcoming and she was super nice too.
While there, I took a sneak peak at her kitchen and took many mouth-watering photographs of her amazing Sicilian pastries, including dolci di Badia, Sicilian cassata, tortina paradiso, frutta martorana and biscotti di fichi. Her pasticceria uses classic Sicilian ingredients, including figs, honey, almonds, citrus and ricotta cheese.