Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

Two weeks after our visit to the Collingwood Children’s Farm Market in Melbourne, we are off to the Slow Food Market at the Abbotsford Convent, just down the road.
Some of the familiar stall holders are back but there are a few new ones as well as some organic producers. It’s amazing how new varieties of produce can appear and others disappear in a couple of weeks

Stall Holders dot the grounds of the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne

Stall Holders dot the grounds of the Convent

Slow Food Market at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne

Busy day at the markets

Slow Food Market at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne

More stalls

Slow Food Market at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne

Daffodils for sale

Persimmons were in season. I found them hiding under the camellia tree.

Persimmons under the camellia tree at the Abbotsford Convent Market in

Persimmons and pears

Persimmons at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

New seasons persimmons

Did you know there was more than one variety of pistachio?
I hadn’t realized this until I spoke to the gentleman at Hi- Fye Pistachios who explained the difference between them. It’s mainly about sweetness!

Pistachio stall at the Slow Food market at Abbotsford Convent in

Hi-Fye Pistachios

There is always a fabulous selection of vegetables.

Vegetable stall at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

Beautiful greens

Organic Vegetable stall at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

Organic kale,spinach and spring onions

Vegetable stall at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

More greens

Vegetable stall at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

Leeks, kohl rabi, celeriac and parsnips

New season’s oranges were arriving at the market

Trays of Oranges at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

Trays of Oranges

Potato seller at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne

The potato man was also here

I had a very exciting find here! Brussel sprouts being sold by the stalk..a new experience for me!

Brussel sprouts on the stalk at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

Brussel sprouts on the stalk

Beetroot at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

Colourful beetroot

Last stop is the Convent Bakery, for a fabulous selection of different breads and rolls. The beetroot and fennel bread is great and the fruit loaf is a must. All the breads are made in their 1901 wood fired oven. If you can’t live without their bread, the bakery is open every day.

The Convent Bakery at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

The Convent Bakery

Fruit loaf from the Convent bakery, Melbourne

Their fabulous fruit loaf

The market is a great way to spend Saturday morning. Apart from buying some of the freshest, tastiest produce available, its also helps to support our local producers. Families come and enjoy the morning and friends meet up for coffee.
Even the dogs love it!

Dog at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

Waiting patiently

Dog in a raincoat at the Abbotsford Convent Market in Melbourne

I'm ready if it's going to rain!




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Turin is chocolate heaven and the best chocolatier in Turin is Guido Gobino.
It is also the home of the Bicerin, a drink of coffee, chocolate and cream.
Combine the two and you have a taste sensation!

Summer bicerin in a test tube at Guido Gobino. You might just need two!

Guido Gobino
Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 1

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It’s time to leave Sicily!
The history, the contrasting landscapes, the people and the food have been amazing.
We’ve loved every minute of our trip.
Here are some of our memories.

Iconic Etna was erupting whilst we were in Sicily. Smoke plumes wafted over the sky for days

Mt Etna, Sicily

Donald, our trusty Fiat Doblo, took us everywhere!

Fiat Doblo in Scicli, Sicily

From stunning Siracusa, with it’s maze of alleyways……

Siracusa, Sicily

Where laundry fluttered in the breeze……

Drying denim in Siracusa, Sicily

To the fishing villages of the south……

Fishing boats, Sicily

Where the three wheeled Apè was constantly in use……

Apè in Mazzara, Sicily

From mountains villages, where rooftops created their own memory…….

Roof tops in Sicily

To the clear blue waters of San Vito lo Capo……

San Vito lo Capo, Sicily

Through fields of flowers……

Olive trees and poppies in Sicily

Dotted with stone walls……

Stone walls in Sicily

Past vineyards……

Grape vines in Sicily

Spotting wild fennel growing everywhere……

Wild fennel in Sicily

To the Nebrodi mountains to see the famous black pigs.

Black pigs of the Nebrodi Mountains in Sicily

We loved the markets with all the fabulous selection of fresh food and fish

Ballaro Market, Palermo

Tasty Pachino tomatoes
Pachino Tomatoes, Sicily

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges, Sicily

Choose your fish.


With raw ingredients of this quality, we ate at fabulous restaurants, from simple trattorias to Michelin starred restaurants.

Star treatment at La Madia in Licata

La Madia, Sicily

Simple, stunning seafood antipasti at Sakalleo in Scoglitti

Seafood antipasti at Sakalleo in Scoglitti

Sicily’s own pasta with sardines at Duomo in Ragusa.

Pasta wih sardines, fennel and pine nuts at Duomo in Ragusa

Stunningly tomato salad with pasta and mussels at La Conchiglietta in Marzamemi


Amazing antipasti selection at Zia Pina in Palermo


Zuppe di Mare at Per Bacco in Siracusa

Zuppe di mare at Per Bacco in Siracusa, Sicily

Pane cunzato at Da Alfredo in Lingua, Salina

Pane cunzato at Da Alfredo in Lingua, Salina

Local festivals were a highlight.
La Festa di Capperi in Pollara, Salina

La Festa di Capperi in Pollara, Salina

La Festa di San Giorgio in Modica

La Festa di San Giorgio in Modica

Meeting friendly locals who were always wanting to know where we were from, what we were doing and where we were going.


Beautiful Marino in Trapani

Marino the net repairer in Trapani, Sicily

Making cheese with Guilio in the Madonie Mountains

Making cheese with Guilio in tbe Madonie Mountains, Sicily

Everywhere we went, we were surrounded by history

Golden mosaics at Monreale Cathedral, Palantine Chapel in Palermo, Piazza Armerina and the Duomo in Cefalu

Mosaics in the Monreale Cathedral, Sicily

Modica- one of the many Baroque towns of South East Sicily

Modica, Sicily

Temple ruins at Segesta, Selinute and Agrigento

Temple at Agrigento, Sicily

Lets not forget the sweet treats

Granita ni Sciacca


Gelato con brioche in Palermo, Sicily

And the best- Cannolo

Cannolo at Mazzara in Palermo

Thankyou Sicily
We’ll be back!

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From Trapani, you can go almost anywhere.

Combine Segesta and Erice for an easy day trip
Segesta and Selinute were constantly at war with each other. Unlike Selinute, the temple and the theatre at Segesta are well preserved.
Buy a ticket for the bus to take you to the theatre with it’s amazing view to the north


The Temple at Segesta, built in the 5th century BC, can be easily reached on foot.


Sitting on top of Monte San Giuliano, the drive to Erice, on a clear day, offers spectacular views.



Erice is the quintessential tourist village. Meander through the paved alleyways and narrow streets to see the small churches and stone houses.



Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the main street, is lined with souvenir and pastry shops, none more famous than the Pasticerria di Maria Grammatico.


Mamma Maria

On another day visit Favignana, the largest of the Egadi Islands, a thirty minute ferry ride away. It’s clear blue waters, especially at Cala Rossa, have been receiving a lot of publicity lately as the place to visit. Marettimo is the most isolated and unspoilt island, a little further away. The weather must be perfect to visit Marettimo for a day trip as the ferries will not run if the sea is rough. Levanzo is the smallest island of the group

The main square of Favignana is a short walk from the port. Hire a scooter, take a taxi or jump aboard the small tourist train to explore the bays around the island.




San Vito di Capo has been voted the best beach in Sicily. In forty minutes you could be lying on the white sand and swimming in clear blue water. Take a book, hire an umbrella and lounge, and relax.



From here it is an easy drive to the northern entrance to the Zingaro National Park and the walks that start from here.


If you haven’t already visited Marsala, it is only thirty minutes away. Return via the Salt Route.
In just over one hour you could be in Palermo, eating street food found in the Ballaro markets.
No wonder Ryan Air, who fly into Trapani, are very busy with weekend visits!

Stay in San Vito di Capo

B&B Le Biciclette
Via C. Gulfi, 3
Tel: +39 3456707437
B&B Le Biciclette
Rooms are small, but it is clean and cute. Great breakfast on the rooftop.

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Trapani was full of surprises.
Not having planned to stay here, the first surprise was that we loved it.
We were also surprised that it was an elegant town with wide streets lined with baroque churches and villas and surprisingly sophisticated shops.



Corso Vittorio Emmanuele is the main street of the old town, starting at the fishing port and ending at Via Torrearsa.


At this intersection is Palazzo Senatorio where the local men gather morning,noon and night.


Via Torrersa is a paved shopping street leading from the port to the beach side.
Here menswear shops outshine the women’s shops
Hidden behind the clock tower of Palazzo Senatorio, is the entrance to another maze of streets with Via della Cuba leading to a group of interesting shops in Piazzetta della Cuba.


In Trapani, you are never far from the water. Water surrounds the old town with the sea walls on the beach side and the port on the other.


Whilst staying here we had an excellent dinner at Osteria La Bettolaccia

Mixed seafood antipasti

Grilled fish

Busiate pasta with seafood. Busiate is traditional pasta of this area

We enjoyed an excellent bottle of Zahir, a Nero d’Avola from Abbazia Santa Anastasia in the Madonie Mountains

Osteria La Bettolaccia
Via General E Fardella, 25
Tel: 0923 21695


Tentazioni di Gusto
Via Badia Nuova 27/29
Tel:+39 0923 548165

A good dinner, but not as good as La Bettolaccia.

It’s not easy choosing where to stay in Trapani. There are many B&B’s but no standout hotels.
All Trapani needs now is a small boutique hotel.

Residence La Gancia
Piazza Mercato del Pesce
Tel:+39 0923 438060
Residence La Gancia

Ai Lumi Bed & Breakfast
Corso Victor Emmanuele, 75
Tel:+39 0923 872418
Ai Lumi Bed & Breakfast

I Colori del Vento
Viale Regina Elina, 62
Tel: 3472504630 or 0923 1890531
I Colori del Vento
Alessandra has access to a simple but adequate apartment in a good position.

Be careful parking your car overnight on the street by the port.
Monday night, the city side of the road is swept and cars will be towed away
Tuesday night, the port’s side of the street is cleaned.
Parking charges start at 8am but you can pre pay this the night before and leave the ticket on the window. Parking in the white lines is free whilst if you park in the blue lines, payment is due. There is free parking in front of the coast guard office.

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Decisions, decisions.
We had not booked our accommodation for the next few nights as we were not sure where the day would finish but we knew Marsala was our first stop.

Heading to the centre of the town , we found a parking spot just outside the gates to the old centre and right next to a very busy pasticerria, Antica Pasticerria de Gaetano.
Perfect for a quick lunch!

Pasta al Forno

Egg, mozzarella and eggplant wrapped in pasta and baked in the oven

How could we not try the mini gelato cones

Tempting pastries. Mignon di fragollini e chocolato, cannoli and cassatina.

We had to try them – all fantastic!

A quick walk through the old part of town followed

Through the Garibaldi Gate

Via Garibaldi

The main square at the end of Via Garibaldi with the Chiesa Madre and Palazzo VII Aprile

Marsala is one of the largest wine producing areas in Sicily and a visit is not complete without a tour of the Florio cellars. Tours in English are at 11am and 4.30pm.

Gates of Florio Cantine

Entrance to the cellars

Large barrique

One of the cellar rooms

Fun labels from Florio

We decided not to stay at one of the many agriturismos on the route between Marsala and Trapani, and instead headed for Trapani along the Via del Sale, The Salt Route

I had seen many photos of the unusual windmills against the blue sky with mounds of white salt in the salt pans. The day was overcast (even the locals had been talking about the unusual weather) so the photos are more shades of grey.


This windmill is at the Salt Museum in Nubia where ancient methods of salt production are explained.

You never know what’s around the corner

Next stop, Trapani

Antica Pasticerria de Gaetano
Via Mario Rapisardi, 13

Bagno Oneto
Contrada Baronazzo Amafi, 55
91025 Marsala
Tel:+39 0923 764222

Baglio Vajarassa

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From olive oil to wines.
After our stay at Mandranova, we move further along the coast to stay at La Foresteria on one of Planeta’s five vineyards that are dotted over the island. There are two wineries at Menfi as well as at one at Vittoria, Noto and Sambuca di Sicilia with a sixth due to start soon at Sciara Nuova on Etna. They are also a major olive oil producer.
La Foresteria is on their Gurra vineyard, just outside Menfi.


The rooms, opening onto boxed herb gardens, have a great view through the valley to the sea.




Arrangements are made to visit the Ulmo Winery at Sambuca di Sicilia which overlooks Lake Aracio. The 17th century farmhouse, about 30 minutes from Menfi, is the original home of the family and the business.




Planeta is one of Sicily’s largest wine producers producing two and a half million litres of wine per year. This winery produces all of their Alastro, Chardonnay and Cometa white wines as well as their new Nero d’Avola red wine, Plumbago.



Production of a sparkling white has just started and the bottles are stored in racks.

We taste some of their most popular wines.
Alastro: A fruity white made of 100% Grecanico grapes.
Cerasuolo: The only D.O.C.G wine to be awarded in Sicily – comes from the Vittorio winery
Syrah: An excellent red wine made from 100% syrah grapes and kept in oak for 12 months.
Burdese: This strong red is made with 70% cabernet savignon and 30% cabernet franc grapes and kept in oak for 12 months. This wine is one of the few wines that can be kept for up to 10 years.


We’re back in time for a quick Rose aperitivo before dinner of risotto with the ragusano cheese and a red wine (cerasuolo) reduction.

Their top wine, a Santa Cecilia, Nero d’Avola red from Noto, complements the main course of veal.

A taste of Planeta’s Passito di Noto made from 100% Moscato Bianco grapes, is a great finish to the day.

La Foresteria
Contrada Passo di Gurra
ex S.S 115 s.p. 79, Km 91
92013 Menfi
Tel: +39 0925 1955460
Planeta Estate- La Foresteria

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