Returning to Sicily

rooster

Gino the rooster

I don’t think I’ve taken the right clothes with me,” I texted P. as soon as I walked outside the airport to wait for my ride to Fabrizia’s house. It wasn’t raining heavily, but the air felt definitely chilly despite the hoodie I had pulled out of my bag to wear.

I was not worrying. I was too tired for that.

In fact, I was far more concerned about my suitcase that had not made it to Palermo after two connecting flights. It had never happened to me before!

Ever.

Oh, this happens often here, I later learned when telling friends who had also traveled to Sicily before.

But the weather.

I wasn’t worried about it yet.

Until a few days later.

When the snow arrived.

_D0C3446

I think Gino the rooster and his black chick–she follows him everywhere–also found it bewildering.

Come and see this! It’s snowing outside!” Linda, Fabrizia’s assistant, shouted from below my bedroom window. Like every morning, I had left it wide open to enjoy the view. I ran to it and opened my eyes wide. Dark clouds filled the sky into the distance. The now snow-capped mountains looked beautiful with the different shades of green covering the hills below.

We were laughing with excitement at the sight.

I ran to my desk to grab my camera. I could not miss this, forgetting even that perhaps I should have worried instead. I mean, it was snowing in Sicily in March, and we had not thought about that possibility.

But thankfully, the snow didn’t last.

And thankfully, despite a chilly weather to start, we had an amazing week with fabulous people who had flown from all around the world for the cooking, food styling and photography workshop Fabrizia and I were running together.

I cannot thank them all enough for having traveled to Sicily to spend that week with us.

windowview

I want to show you glimpses of what we did.

Where we were.

I want to show you some of the landscapes we saw.

The foods we cooked, styled, and ate.

The walks and excursions we took.

I hope you’ll understand the good time we had.

_D0C5127

Everything happened at Case Vecchie in Vallelunga, the home of Fabrizia’s Sicilian cooking school. There you learn about how much love people have for homegrown and seasonal foods. About how quality ingredients make splendid dishes that warm the heart.

_D0C4830

  • Case Vecchie, Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, Sicily
  • Sicily in Spring is gorgeous. The month of March means finding expanses of wild flowers everywhere you look. The lush green landscape is dotted with hundreds of blossoming almond trees.

    _D0C4967

    _D0C4702

    We visited a ricotta cheese family-run farm where we sampled freshly made sheep-milk ricotta cheese. It’s the story of a father and his son, with many more generations before. Ricotta is made from whey, the watery liquid that remains after straining curds when making cheese. It’s light and slightly sweet in taste. It was wonderful to accompany our breakfasts. And in the cassata and gnocchi the group learned how to prepare.

    _D0C3859

    _D0C3927

    _D0C3678

    _D0C3544

    March witnesses the arrival of Artichokes, fava beans, wild fennel, citrus fruit and blood oranges on markets’ displays. Imagine freshly squeezed blood orange juice every single morning for everyone. Try. Do you understand this love for Sicily already?

    _D0C4125

    Blood Oranges

    _D0C4096

    Wild Fennel – Artichokes

    _D0C3987

    The outdoor markets of Palermo showed us a slice of Sicilian everyday life, with glorious produce and street foods to sample. How much I loved discovering the faces of market sellers while walking the narrow streets of the city!

    _D0C4055

    _D0C4145

    _D0C4211

    _D0C4775

    Between visits, we cooked, styled and photographed simple Sicilian foods, finding visual inspiration in the natural elements around us.

    _D0C3474

    _D0C4158

    _D0C3623

    Market in Palermo

    _D0C3875

    _D0C4327

    Here, we eat pretty much everything we find in the fields,” Fabrizia told me when I pointed at flowers and plants found by the side of the path. “We love to forage.

    AndrewVeggies

    _D0C3551

    sicilylandscapes1

    We styled a Sicilian picnic together.

    _D0C3994

    _D0C3993

    _D0C4309

    We took a leisurely walk across the vineyard surrounding the main house.

    _D0C4727

    _D0C4724

    We visited nearby villages to learn about St Joseph festivities that occur on March 19th every year. Upon that day, people prepare intricate altars adorned with flowers, citrons, oranges, fava beans, cakes, breaded loaves of bread, and cookies. The making of bread is an art in itself.

    .

    breadmaking

    tree

    _D0C4353

    oranges

    _D0C4294

    Fabrizia – Case Vecchie

    _D0C4343

    horses

    _D0C5034

    _D0C4755

    darktrees

    groupphoto

    Our group at Case Vecchie

    We did all of these things during a week in March this spring.

    And because of it, I made friends. New ones. Keeping old ones strong and tight.

    And thanks to it, we sampled heartwarming foods: Fabrizia’s welcoming cooking.

    Like this down-to-earth orange salad that delighted everyone.

    _D0C5723

    Because of it, I knew that I would have to return to Sicily.

    To experience it all over yet another time.

    _D0C5709

    Sicilian Orange and Olive Salad
    Sicilian Orange and Olive Salad

    Adapted from Coming Home to Sicily by Fabrizia Lanza

    You need:

    • 4 blood oranges
    • 1 small red onion, finely sliced with a sharp knife, or mandoline
    • 12 oil-cured black olives, pitted
    • A small bunch of radishes, finely sliced
    • 4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
    • Dried oregano
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Sea salt and pepper

    Steps:

    • With a sharp paring knife, remove the peel from the oranges. Slice the oranges and transfer them into a large bowl.
    • Add the onion, olives, radishes, and anchovies.
    • Gently toss the salad with the oil, vinegar, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

    61 comments

    1. As a sicilian, I love your post very much, definitely. Love the pictures and the colors, and sometimes it seems to me like I can ….. sniff the smell of oranges!
      But, maybe, the St Joseph festivities you talk about is on 19th march, not may…… isn’t it? Congratulation on this wonderful and interesting website.

    2. What a wonderful post, Béa. Thank you for sharing your spring week with us. I love Gino the rooster! Oh and snow in March? Wow. I’m ready to book my flight right away!

    3. You gave me a wonderful trip without leaving my room! It is on our list and I do hope we get to experience Sicily soon.

    4. what an amazing journey Beatrice….your posts are always an inspirations to us and this one could not be an exception..thank you

    5. Can I be part of the group next time? That looked like an amazing trip!

    6. Bonjour Béa

      Une pure merveille ces photos, on voudrait être là. Que dire de plus, toujours un immense plaisir de te lire, tu as un talent incroyable.

      Bonne journée
      Brigitte

    7. Absolutely stunning! I have always wanted to go to Italy, but I’ve only made it as far as Portugal.

      These photos, those sheep, that food and that gorgeous land all renew my need to travel more and make my way all the way there :D

    8. Was so happy to join you on this amazing trip! Your photos are gorgeous and inspiring.

    9. It was absolutely a pleasure to be with you and Fabrizia for this leg of my journey. Thank you so much Bea!

    10. I’m dying to go to Sicily. Your photos are stunning and I feel like I’m one step closer to making plans to go!

    11. Love the pictures and the place, wonderful people, wonderful colors, wonderful food.. great!!

    12. I will always have fond memories this extraordinary trip with you, Fabrizia and the others who traveled to get there from far and wide.

    13. I loved every minute of this trip. It was so nice meeting you and everyone else who was a part of our week! :)

    14. Just Wow, I’ll be there is 6 weeks. Such beautiful countryside and food. Thanks for sharing your stunning photos.

    15. snow in sicily! how very lucky. thank you for the glimpses of what you did for those who weren’t there!

    16. I would like so much to join this workshop! Love your pictures!

    17. This looks absolutely exquisite!!! What a magical journey through the scenic and bountiful Italian countryside…..thank you for sharing! What a lovely workshop!

    18. Beautiful pictures of gorgeous scenery, people, food. Very pleasing to look at.

    19. My father was from Sicily. I never really knew him. Next spring we’re going to Sicily, and after viewing these beautiful photos, I’m even more excited!

    20. Oh Bea, your posts are exquisite!
      The colours and subjects of your photos are wonderful. Thank you.

    21. Okay, ready to go back now, please. Thank you Bea for a wonderful time, and for sharing these gorgeous photos and memories!

    22. Thanks for showing what you did in the workshop. Looks amazing, really interesting. I hope one day I could join you.

    23. Wow! Love the beautiful pics…I can almost feel the energy/what it is like there! Makes me wanna go there!

    24. Oh Bea you really have a gift with a camera. I’m scrolling and scrolling not wanting the post to finish. And each shot is as lovely as the next. Very nicely captured – the whole week, the whole spirit, that beautiful landscape. Jealous as all hell ;)

    25. Wow,God is such an amazing artist with His hands !! And you photographed His artistry so beautifully !! It looks like you had a wonderful experience !

    26. Oh, finally a post from you again!!

      The photos are stunning and absolutely gorgeous! And the workshop looks fantastic and super super fun! Makes me wish I’d been there with you.

    27. Excellent photography!! Seriously, I wish that I could get ahold of a great camera and just travel and take some pictures of the different landscapes–residential & country-side. I’ll be taking a trip, hopefully soon, to Europe and hitting a variety of unique places that I wanna take some great pictures of!
      You’re an inspiration!

    28. What beautiful photos! You have such a good eye for telling a story with your photos!!! I am curious what breed of sheep they use for making the ricotta?

    29. Hi Bea, yu really captured beautiful images…I guess the market in Palermo is ‘La vucciria’…is this so? I LOVE that place.
      Thanks for sharing these beautiful shots and memories from Sicily.
      (and so sorry for your luggage…)

      Kisses Roberta

    30. So nice to see your post again Bea.
      I was almost having “withdrawals”!
      Would like to join you again sometimes.Take care.

    31. Pingback: Returning To Sicily | Jenny Up The Hill

    32. Pingback: Favourite posts this week | Bake n Shake

    33. I adore your pictures Bea I went to Sicily last year and totally fell in love with the country. Those markets in Palermo are just fantastic aren’t they.

    34. Pingback: Friday Favorites | Alyssa & Carla

    35. Pingback: Martini’s Persistence & A Smile | The Warmth Of Andalusia

    36. Pingback: Returning To Sicily | After The Bubbly

    37. Pingback: The Spanish Way | La Tartine Gourmande

    38. Wonderful pictures., like the love of delicious food to eat…beauty nourishes us.

    39. Pingback: Sjokoladekake med blodappelsin | Nordic Diner

    40. Pingback: Chocolate cake with blood oranges | Nordic Diner

    41. Pingback: With Purple | La Tartine Gourmande

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>