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Join Rosetta Costantino along with her husband Lino, a native of Palermo, Sicily, as they take you on an insiders tour of western Sicily. You will search local markets for fresh, seasonal ingredients from land and sea, learn to cook regional specialties, enjoy meals prepared by fabulous local chefs, and of course, sample and learn about the regional wines that match the deep flavors of the food. With lots of delicious flavors and beautiful places to discover, this culinary and cultural experience in Sicily, Italy, will not disappoint anyones expectations to get astonished.
You will spend three nights in this beautiful, five-star hotel located in the heart of Palermos historic district, close to theaters, shopping, and other attractions. With its refined rooms and prestigious suites, the result of perfect symbiosis between the elegance of the furnishings, the golden decoration, and the efficiency of the services, the Grand Hotel Wagner is the ideal hotel for the most discerning traveler, ready to satisfy any request for those who travel for work or enjoyment. Whilst maintaining a classic style, the rooms are equipped with the latest technology for those who wish to dedicate some time to work. In fact, from the rooms, it is possible to surf on internet using your own laptop or a LCD TV.
The interior of the hotel is ornately decorated with old paintings, carpets, rare marbles, columns, hand-made windows, and a rare antique fireplace. Next to the hall is the elegant American bar, where you can relax sipping one of the barmans specialties and listening to pleasant music. For the well-being of the guests, there is a fitness and wellness area situated one floor downstairs the hall, which is equipped with sauna, chromo-therapy, tapis roulant, cyclette, various massage, and treatment rooms. On the fourth floor, there is a large terrace, an ideal place for an exclusive aperitif or after-dinner drink, and also the Verdi and Rossini halls, equipped with the latest technology and available for meetings, conferences, and congresses.
You will spend four nights in this elegant resort, set in its own vineyards in the Menfi wine country. Facilities include beautiful rooms, a pool, a restaurant, and a cooking school facility. Its 14 guest rooms are all perfectly appointed with private terraces and delightful sea views, each being named after one of the botanical herbs grown in the gardens at La Foresteria, inviting you to immediately grasp the essence of a Sicilian holiday Planeta style. Rich in warm, Mediterranean atmosphere, each spacious guest room is styled and decorated according to a distinctive theme.
Period furnishings and color palettes are all different and all inspired by the natural tones of the earth; muted colorways on the walls, red and ocher in the geometrical patterns of the carpets, bright color accents in the yellows and blues of Burgio and Caltagirone traditional ceramics. Each room strikes the perfect balance between elegance and functionality; every detail is designed to transport you to a true oasis of peace and beauty. During your stay, you will be able to choose from many activities, sights, and attractions the area has to offer and design your own rich and challenging Sicilian escape or simply relax and enjoy some time in the luxury amenities of the resort and spa.
Cooking with Rosetta will meet you at Palermo International Airport (PMO) in the early afternoon. A well-equipped touring bus will take you to Menfi, in the province of Agrigento, at the beautiful Foresteria Planeta Estate, producer of some of Sicilys best wines. You will have this estate all to yourself, as there are only 14 rooms on the property. Get acquainted with your fellow tour members over some Planeta wines and enjoy the magnificent views. You will follow with a traditional dinner in the estates restaurant featuring some local specialties. During the meal, you will discuss what to expect in the coming days of your tour and all your questions will be answered.
The day starts with a leisurely homemade breakfast. Later in the morning, you will prepare Sicilian specialties at Planetas cooking school kitchen and enjoy the dishes for lunch. In the afternoon, you will visit the vast archaeological site of Selinunte, renowned for its well-preserved temples on the eastern hill and for its acropolis. Late in the afternoon, you will drive to Castelvetrano to tour the olive oil estate of Antica Tenuta dei Principi Pignatelli, where you will taste their Olio Verde. You will dine at this olive oil estate on local specialties featuring their amazing extra virgin olive oil.
After breakfast, you will travel to the Via Del Sale, the road between Trapani and Marsala, to tour the Saline Ettore e Infersa salt works, where they still practice the ancient tradition of harvesting salt from the sea. You will head to Marsala and visit one of the premier winery in the area, Donna Fugata, where you will enjoy a wine tasting and lunch featuring local specialties. Later, in the afternoon, you will be the guests of Florio, the oldest Marsala winery that dates back to 1832. You will learn the history of Marsala and conclude with a tasting of their Marsala and passito. You will head back to Porto Palo to enjoy a dinner of Sicilian specialties at a seaside restaurant.
You will have an early breakfast so you can watch a local shepherd make ricotta. You will taste it fresh as it is made and then, bring some back with you to use in your cooking class. There, you will work with the chef to prepare local dishes for your lunch. In the afternoon, you will drive to Sciacca to visit the local traditional craftsmen of ceramics and red coral. Your last night in Menfi will end with a winemakers dinner at the Planeta Ulmo Winery in Sambuca.
After packing your bags and enjoying your breakfast at Planeta Foresteria, you will drive to Erice, a medieval town perched on a hilltop with views of the western Mediterranean Sea. You will visit Pasticceria Grammatico, Maria Grammaticos pastry shop where she sells frutta di martorana (marzipan), genovesi (pastries filled with pastry cream ), mostaccioli di Erice (Erice cinnamon biscuits), and other almond delicacies. Maria will demonstrate the techniques of making the handcrafted pastries. Afterwards, you will explore Erice and have lunch right in town. During your drive to Palermo, you will stop to visit the Doric Temple in Segesta. Once in Palermo, you will check into Grand Hotel Wagner. Your dinner will be at a local pizzeria.
In the morning, you will start your tour of Palermo with a private guide and walk to see key cultural sites of Palermo, including the cathedral, the Palatine Chapel, the beautiful Piazza Bellini, and the Quattro Canti (the Four Corners) of the city. You will stop for lunch and have traditional Sicilian street food such as panelle e crocch and sfincione. In the afternoon, you will visit Monreale, a pearl of Arab Norman art. Built in 1166, the Cathedral of Monreale is covered with unique mosaic work on the walls and ceiling representing Biblical stories. On your way back to Palermo, you will stop at a pasticceria to enjoy a Sicilian sweet or a brioche filled with Sicilian gelato. Tonights dinner will feature specialties of Palermo.
After breakfast, you will walk to Palermos colorful food market. You will quickly see the Arabic origins of Sicily reflected in the market, which somewhat resembles a bazaar. You will buy what you need for your cooking class and then, cook with a local chef to prepare a lunch featuring specialties of Palermo. You will have some free time to complete your last minute shopping before you go out for your farewell dinner.
After breakfast, the shuttle takes you to the Palermo International Airport (PMO) for your return flight to a gateway city. You should be back at the airport by 10:00.
This retreat will take place in Sicily, visiting Palermo, Marsala, and Agrigento, Italy.
During this vacation, you will enjoy a delightful variation of regional dishes in your homemade breakfasts and dinners in selected places. You will also enjoy the tasty lunches prepared by you during the cooking classes or prepared in local Sicilian places. Some of the specialties to be tasted will include amazing extra virgin olive oil. In two pasticcerias, you will try the sweet side of the Sicilian cuisine. Finally, you will have the chance to taste some of the best wines of the region.
You can relax and enjoy some time in the luxury amenities of the resort and spa at La Foresteria Planeta Estate. You can also take chromo-therapy, various massages, and treatment rooms at Grand Hotel Wagner. Please send an inquiry to Cooking with Rosetta for more information regarding these spa treatments.
Please book your flight to arrive at the Palermo International Airport (PMO). Cooking with Rosetta will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.