[This post is part of a series which records my road trip to Sicily during September. I took loads of photos, but have only included a few at the end of each blog post.]
After having one of the best meals of my life on a farm in Trani, Puglia, I really wanted to find something similar while travelling around Sicily. Also, as Sicily is renowned for its slow food movement and having some lovely local wines, I wanted to combine the two and stay on a working farm. What is an Agriturismo you ask? Well, it usually translates as a ‘farm house resort’ and the best type are usually run as a working farm by a family, with guest-rooms and shared common areas such as dining rooms, courtyards and gardens. These farms usually provide amazing food, and are situated in beautiful parts of the country.
However, there are a number of different factors to take into account when trying to find an agriturismo, and I found a very helpful webside (bestofsicily.com) which explained the different requirements and how to spot a ‘real’ agriturismo. I found Agriturismo Tarantola after a lot of searching through Trip Advisor, Google and a slew of other websites. It provides 3* Accommodation on an organic vineyard. Philippo (the owner) was extremely helpful on email and I reserved one 4 bed apartment with cooking facilities and 1 double bedroom with B&B, leaving the option of evening meals and breakfast open until we arrived.
We were staying at the farm during harvesting season. When driving to the farm (you definitely need a car), we could see the pickers on either side of the road, picking the grapes by hand. It’s about a 20 minute drive from Alcamo and once actually on the farm, it really feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. I loved the feel of the place as soon as we arrived.
We were greeted by two of Philippo’s team (I think it was Rino(?) and Giuseppe) and allocated our rooms. After settling in, we sat to read (with a bottle of the vineyard’s white wine) until dinner.
The food is to die for! Even now I can’t think about it without my mouth watering. What’s even better is that Rino and Guiseppe (let’s call them that) came out with each course and asked us to guess the ingredients of the dishes. Through my limited french/Italian and mime, we guessed the different constituents of each each dish and were rewarded with grins by Rino. My favourites were the panelle (chickpea fritters) and the caponata. However, the pasta was amazing as well. It was very clearly home-made and most of the ingredients were local.
In fact, some were so local that during one particularly delicious meal, Rino took my hand and showed me the herb garden behind the dining room where he had picked the fresh herbs.
It was so hard to be restrained with the food because it was so good. The home-made digestifs certainly helped the food go down -especially the eucalyptus and laurel one.
The breakfasts were just as good as the dinners. Small delicate pastries and biscuits were served with home-made jams and marmalade. The coffee was deliciously strong, and there was enough so there was really no need to eat until dinner. I really appreciated it after a run around the vineyard first thing in the morning.
I would really like to return to this place. I found it so relaxing, welcoming and the food truly delicious.
For more information, here are some useful websites:-