Locanda Don Serafino.
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.
At Valle Dell’Acate we were able to see some of the original wine-making equipment from “back in the day,” including a crushing pit that reminded me of the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel were crushing grapes in their bare feet!
In that same museum area was a picturesque window that looked out into the vineyards. This winery was well into the 21st century, though, using solar panels for 50% of its energy.
Before we left Valle Dell’Acate we had a lunch of fresh cheeses, calzone, breads, olives and fruits. It was the kind of meal I could eat every day, especially with the wine.
When we finally arrived at the Anna Lanza Cooking School I realized it was worth it. The villa was just as I pictured small town Italy to be, with a courtyard filled with chickens heckling and laundry hanging, and the addition of vineyards and sweeping views of the valley below.
Visitors to this villa and cooking school have included celebrity chefs (like Mario Batali) and people from all walks of life. Joining us for the visit were Jim, a movie producer from Hollywood, and Rosalinda, a banker from New York. There was also a group of interns and visiting chefs joining in.
Tasca d’Amerita Sparkling Rose as we sat in the courtyard and enjoyed the warm night.
Dinner was eggplant, rabbit, salad, pasta and fruit. All from this area and freshly made. We drank a 2007 Rosso del Conte with dinner, made from the local Nero d'Avola, which blends so well with the Sicilian cooking.
We ended the meal with sweet and light cream puffs, and a glass of Diamante d'Almerita, a late harvest mixture of moscato and traminer aromatico that is heavenly.