Showing posts from 2012

Farewell 2012, Welcome 2013

It was an exciting year as I was able to visit new places around the country and around the world. I learned how to make gin in London, party Aspen style, taste my way through South Beach, find the best Moscato selection on a small island (Pantelleria) in Italy, and luxuriate in spas from Arizona to Colorado. My readership has grown quite a but over the last year and I appreciate the support. I' m looking forward to the adventures to come in 2013 and I look forward to taking you all along for the ride! Happy New Year! Marcia

Sicilian Finale

It had been an incredible week of traveling around Sicily, seeing the countryside and tasting the wine and food, but it was about to come to an end. It was the final day for Tracy and I to enjoy this region and we were ready to take full advantage. I had been told that the breakfast at Hotel Carmine was wonderful and we were not disappointed, There was quite a selection of cheese, fruit, breads, cakes (loved the Nutella cake), eggs and meat. We certainly filled up our plates. After breakfast, we around the scenic downtown Marsala. The architecture was very European and the narrow alleyways led to a pedestrian mall filled with stores. I wandered around, picking up a bargain Italian leather pocketbook and a few gifts for family. We then walked back to the hotel and waited for Maria Elena from Donnafugata to pick us up. The Donnafugata Winery in Marsala was not at all what I expected. It was modern and casual, reminding me of a neighborhood in Southern California.

Marca Peru

It seems like every time I cross one destination off my bucket list I add another. I have to admit that Peru was not high on my priorities. That changed when I was asked to post this video. I sat down to watch it and was really surprised by what I saw. I had heard Peru was a beautiful country, but I never imagined just how much there was to see, do and taste there. The scenery is just breathtaking and it appears there is a lot to discover. Take a few moments out of your day to sit back, relax and enjoy this video. It will definitely be three minutes that will make you smile. I’ll bet it will also have you planning your next vacation sooner than you thought you would. And, it just may be too Peru. If not, I’m also sure Peru will move onto your bucket list too. Happy Holidays, Marcia Viral video by ebuzzing sponsored post

Wine Exploration from Pantelleria to Marsala

Tracy and I woke up in our little stone house on the property of the Donnafugata Winery on the island of Pantelleria. We would be traveling again this day, but first we were able to tour this beautiful property and see a bit more of this Sicilian Island. Antonio Ralla, one of the owners of Donnafugata, and Marta, from the marketing department, met us at the cellar to talk about Moscato de Alexandria and the vineyard built on volcanic soil, with sand and light pumice stones. We also discussed the Arab influence on the island (Tunisia is only 20 miles away). The vineyard was filled with Moscato grapes drying on the vines. Marta took us through and along the way we picked some to eat and they were juicy and sweet. She then showed us the Giardino Pantesco  (a fortress for a tree) Donnafugata. It is one of the most unusual gardens in the world, with an orange tree growing inside a stone wall. The original concept goes back 3,000 years and the winery has kept it going.

The Wonders of Pantelleria

I don’t often see the words “free day” on my schedule, but that’s what Tracy and I had for our first full day in Pantelleria . Unfortunately, a power failure the night before had us to bed very late and oversleeping, but once we got going we were ready to see what this magnificent island had to offer. The original plan was to have lunch with the vineyard workers at the Donnafugata Winery where we were staying, but when we didn’t wake up until 12:30, we decided to head straight out to explore, enjoying some coffee and biscotti first. We took off in our little yellow Fiat Panda to try to find Grotta di Benikula Sauna, a natural sauna within a cave. We drove for about an hour and couldn’t find it, but did manage to see some interesting vineyards, a monastery and ancient ruins. I couldn’t believe all this existed on the Mediterranean Sea, just 20 miles from the African nation of Tanzania . From that area we drove down to Scauri to look for someplace to eat along th

Exploring Anna Lanza Cooking School and Tasca D’Almerita

I woke up early in my room at the Tasca D’Almerita Winery . I could hear the workers coming in for the day and it was a good feeling to know I was no longer totally alone in this vast place. After a little work and a quick shower, my ride to go back to the Anna Lanza Cooking School came to get me for breakfast. I joined my friend Tracy, who had stayed at the school’s villa, for a breakfast that was as wonderful as I had been told it would be. There was homemade marmalade, created from the fruit in the garden; just baked sweet breads; freshly hatched scrambled eggs; and even homemade yogurt, which I enjoyed with a delectable fig tart. Ragaleali is a picturesque Sicilian town up on a mountain and the area I was in consisted of acres and acres of land that included the winery and the cooking school.  After breakfast, we walked around for awhile before our tour of the vineyards and winery.  I relaxed in the courtyard too, talking with Jim, one of the cooking school gu

From Ragusa to Regaleali

It had been a long time since I’d slept in a twin bed, but I had been so tired from the previous day of travel that it didn’t matter. With the shutters shut and the alarm off, my friend Tracy and I had even slept until 9:30 at Locanda Don Serafino . We dressed and packed up quickly and headed downstairs for a great European breakfast of breads, muffins, yogurt and cheese. Unfortunately, we forgot we weren’t in Starbucks when it came to ordering coffee and just asked for “lattes,” forgetting to specify “café” before it. We enjoyed the glasses of warm milk before playing it safe and requesting cappuccinos! We had a bit of time and went for a short walk in Ragusa Ibla before Francesco Ferreri picked us up and took us to the Valle Dell’Acate winery.  The drive seemed a lot more interesting after a good night’s sleep and we identified the almond, orange and olive trees along the way, as well as the green houses filled with tomatoes. It was starting to warm up and it was

Welcome to Sicily

I have been lucky enough to travel around the world, but I never had the opportunity to visit any of the places my family came from.  That list is longer than you may think since each of my grandparents was born in a different country. When the opportunity to visit Sicily came up, I was thrilled to be able to cross one of those places off my list. The trip was organized by Rebecca Hopkins, whom I had met while at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic . She works for Folio Wines and put together a trip for me with three of Sicily’s top wine producers, Valledell’Acate , Tasca d’Almerita and Donnafugata . The itinerary had us on eight planes and in the car quite a bit, but the positive side of that was that I would get to see a lot of the land my grandfather’s family was from. It was a rough start to the trip as the cab I ordered didn’t show up and I came as close as one could get (the plane door about to close) to missing my plane. Had I been at a larger airport, there proba