"Uncork Mount Etna!" with Karen La Rosa

Spring time at Vivera Wines
There are many ways to discover Sicily but one of the best ways is to do a Wine and Food Tour.

La RosaWorks is a company that customizes tours to Sicily highlighting its history, food, wine and culture creating memories in a fun, educational and tasty way.

New York based Karen La Rosa visited Sicily a number of years ago and fell in love with the island firstly by discovering it by bike.

Karen created La RosaWorks to share her passion for Sicily and everything that she has learned and experienced on her travels.

She is a wonder to talk to as we both share a great love for Sicily (we could probably talk about all things Sicilian for hours).

This Spring 2016 you can join Karen on a Sicilian adventure ‘Uncork Mount Etna!’ a unique experience discovering our beautiful volcano through its wine, food and culture.

Visit her website at www.larosaworks.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Now I will pass you over to Karen who has written this wonderful guest post for me, enjoy; 

(all photos are courtesy of La RosaWorks)

A Wine, Food and Cultural tour to the beating heart of Sicily  
by Karen La Rosa

To refer to a 'wine and food’ tour in Sicily is almost redundant in a place where wine IS food. It is consumed with every meal and elicits as much passion as the next plate of Caponata. 

Wine has been part of Sicily’s agricultural and cultural heritage for millennia, storied and woven into myth and religion. It has spanned the ages from the Greeks and Romans, to the feudal systems of the nobles, a spark of entrepreneurial spirit in the late 1800’s, followed by mass emigration and a decimation of workers, to a new renaissance on the slopes of Etna and beyond. It has been a roller coaster ride of successes and failures for an industry that has perennially done battle with politics, regulations, taxation, and perception. While the type of bulk wine made in the past is still enjoyed at the family table today, often coming in unmarked bottles from local cooperatives or a family member, time, evolution, education, support, promotion, and even some regulation, has given rise to a growing interest in the refined wine segment in Sicily, the wines that compete for space in the best restaurants and stores worldwide. 

I do not enjoy pairing the words wine and industry. While it requires the most industrious of efforts to bring a grape from farm to table, the process and the result is really more about art, each glass the result of painstaking effort, imagination and constant reckoning with Mother Nature. Nowhere in Italy is this struggle more pronounced than in Sicily. And this is why we go: to experience the incredible. On this tour, we will go to the stunning region around Mount Etna, the island’s beating heart, so full of stunning vistas, history, and nature. It is the exploding wine scene on the volcano that is driving tourism and sales these days. It is both fascinating and exciting to see it up close.

The best way to learn about this subject is to go and see for yourself. Go to the vineyards, some old, some new, but all basking in the Sicilian sun and tenderly loved. Meet the people, some who have been there for generations, and some newcomers, from points north. Taste the wines paired with the food, the unbeatably fresh, simple, and delicious Sicilian food. On Etna there are indigenous grapes, packed with the mineralogy of the sandy and lava ash soil, and yet each winery produces a wine uniquely their own. Like when a docent explains a painting, you will gain appreciation for every aspect of the wine, its production and heart. On this tour, you will have the opportunity to experience this in the most intimate way. What makes it even more special is the historical connection remarked upon by a wine-seller friend, Peter Yi, “The people of that sacked city on the hill drank wines from the same vineyards we drink from today, a living connection to an abstract past.”

Join us May 30th - June 6th, 2016 to immerse yourself in an experience for the senses. As the Greek writer Horace said “No poem was ever written about water.”  

We will visit Catania, Taormina, and the Etna towns in private transportation and stay at two 4 star hotels. We will eat exceptionally well, and sample many delicious wines. 

You will be embraced by Etna’s generosity and learn much about Sicily’s layered and storied history. Sicily is an idea and Mount Etna is like its own continent on the island. If it sounds magical and mysterious, that’s because it is!

To read the details about this tour, please visit: http://larosaworks.com/2016-sicily-spring-wine-and-food-tour.php

To join the mail list for updates, please click here:  http://eepurl.com/bMuCUj

And, please visit me on Facebook for a daily dose of Sicily: https://www.facebook.com/LaRosaWorksSicily/?ref=hl

Harvesting at Vivera Wines

Barone di Villagrande

Sitting atop the volcano in the late afternoon

Near Castiglione di Sicilia

Azienda Agricola Benanti

Catania fish market

Catania fish market

Duomo, Catania

Moorish Head typical Ceramics of Caltagirone

Taormina view

Mount Etna from the winding streets of Castelmola

Saracen hiking path, Taormina

(all photos in this post are courtesy of  La RosaWorks)

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