Passorosso – the quintessential Etna Rosso

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Passorosso Etna Rosso DOC 2018

Passorosso – the quintessential Etna Rosso Mount Etna, while never quiescent, has recently had the most violent eruptions of the past fifty years, as this spectacular video shows. Yet as my previous articles about Etna demonstrate, this destructive power is also lifegiving. Today, Etna produces magnificent wines from its unique vineyards.  Etna’s reputation has become re-established over the last twenty years, and …

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Black Bee Honey from Sicily – tasting with cheeses

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Sicilian Black Bee Raw Honey

Black Bee Honey from Sicily – tasting with cheeses. We all know that bees make honey. But not just honey; beeswax, honeycomb, propolis and royal jelly too. However, this article is about Sicilian Black Bee honey, which, like wine, comes in different flavours according to where the beehives are. And like wine, these can match different artisanal cheeses to a greater …

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SP68 Rosso by Arianna Occhipinti – serious fun

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Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2019

SP68 Rosso by Arianna Occhipinti – serious fun Arianna Occhipinti owns 23.5 hectares of vineyards in the south-east of Sicily, near Vittoria. Here is a beautiful land of limestone and sandy soils at around 300 metres in altitude. It’s in complete contrast to Mount Etna further north; flattish land where grapes are just one of the many fruits, and vegetables …

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Sicily, the Land of Baroque ‘n’ Roll, Part 1

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Sicily - Trinacria

Sicily – the Land of Baroque ‘n’Roll, Part 1 This land Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, symbolised by the Trinacria, representing the island’s triangular shape and fabled fertility. Winegrowing here dates back to the 8th century B.C. by ancient Greek colonies. Sicily has highly visible evidence of conquest by many civilisations. Phonecians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs, Germans, …

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Sicilian Wines, My Delightful Dozen. Baroque ‘n’ Roll, Part 2

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Sicilian Wines - delightful dozen

Sicilian Wines, My Delightful Dozen. Baroque ‘n’ Roll, Part 2. Here are wines that I consider to be outstanding examples of Sicilian wines from all over the island. I’ve deliberately restricted the choice to only one wine per producer. I’ve also chosen different grape varieties and styles wherever possible. Hence it shows off the Island’s enormous diversity. Sometimes that’s made …

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Nero Oro Nero d’Avola Appassimento, DOC Sicilia, 2017

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Nero Oro Apassimento Sicilia DOC

Nero Oro Nero d’Avola Appassimento, DOC Sicilia, 2017 Nero Oro comes from the Feudo di Santa Tresa estate in Sicily, in collaboration with a company called The Wine People. It’s intriguing in several ways, and not just because of the taste. Firstly, it’s 100% Nero d’Avola, a grape indigenous to Sicily and one of it’s best varieties. Since the 1990’s, …

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Etna terroir, the Burgundy of the Mediterranean – the Lava Lout Returns, Part 2 of 2

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Etna terroir

Etna terroir, the Burgundy of the Mediterranean – the Lava Lout Returns, Part 2 of 2 The Etna Terroir Part 1 of this article described how a Sicilian volcano bestows natural gifts to create the Etna terroir. But Etna isn’t one terroir; there are many variations. Welcome to the Burgundy of the Mediterranean. Etna’s volcanic soils are free-draining and low in …

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Etna, or why I’m a Lava Lout – Part 1 of 2

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Etna smouldering

Etna, or why I’m a Lava Lout – Part 1 of 2 At 3,343 metres (10,968 feet), Mount Etna (Mongibello) spits, snarls and smokes. All around is ash, black as death. Above us, the summit has four active craters caked with yellow sulphur. Etna erupts almost continuously, and as we climb to 3,050 metres, it’s too dangerous to ascend further. …

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Recipe: Spaghetti alla Norma, a real taste of Sicily

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Spaghetti alla Norma, Sicily

Recipe: Spaghetti alla Norma, a real taste of Sicily A big bowl of Spaghetti alla Norma is truly the essence of Sicilian cuisine. I first ate it in Ragusa many years ago. It’s a tomato and aubergine pasta heaven that forms a regular part of my diet. Hearty and healthy, it’s so foolproof to make that even I can do …

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Veeno, an Italian Wine Café in the UK

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Veeno

Veeno, an Italian Wine Café in the UK It’s not every day that you encounter a genuinely different take on Italian food and wine in Britain. That Veeno manages this admirably is down to director Nino Francesco Caruso and his business partner Andrea Zecchino. They set up their small chain of 20* restaurants in 2013, starting with Leeds and Manchester. This …

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