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Making Homemade Panettone

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Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread originally from Milan which is usually prepared and eaten in Italy at Christmas and New Year and are one of those sold cakes throughout Italy.  It has a cupola shape which extends from a cylindrical base that is traditionally about 12 to 15cm high and it should weigh around 1kg. It is made using a long process. It contains candied orange and lemon and citrus zest, as well as raisins, making it look like it is studded with jewels. Many other variations are available such as plain or with chocolate or nuts. A panettone is served in wedged slices and is usually enjoyed with hot drinks or with sweet Italian wines.  The panettone has a light and airy texture with a rich and buttery taste and is only slightly sweetened with sugar. In Italy the panettone comes with a varied history.  The word "panettone" derives from the Italian word "panetto" meaning a small loaf cake and the origins of this cake are said to be ancient dating ba

A Zoom Sicilian Christmas with Villa Britannia Taormina

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We are living in strange times at the moment and this year many of us have been separated from our loved ones and friends all around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. We decided to be responsible people and keep safe and stay home in the UK. We had to make the heart breaking decision to cancel both our spring and autumn road trips home to Sicily with our dog Daisy and then sadly all my summer flights were cancelled, so we have been trying to keep Sicily in our hearts in many ways and our lovely friends Louisa and Marco at Villa Britannia in Taormina have been keeping spirits high with their amazing Zoom Cookery Classes. Just to remind you how we met ... Louisa and Marco own the gorgeous Villa Britannia in central Taormina set in a peaceful and tranquil location. Villa Britannia is a small and exclusive boutique B&B with two gorgeous suites. Our English friend Teresa who lives in our town introduced us to Louisa and Marco. Teresa's son is best friends with Marco and the

Argimusco ... Sicily's Stonehenge

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Stonehenge is one of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom and is regarded as a British cultural icon.  The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. It is a prehistoric site and consists of a ring of megalith standing stones set within a complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Stonehenge is steeped in folklore, myths and legends including that of King Arthur.  The Prehistoric site has long been studied for its possible connections with ancient astronomy. The site is aligned in the direction of the sunrise of the summer solstice and the sunset of the winter solstice.  Some theories claim that Stonehenge was constructed as part of a fertility cult.  Stonehenge is a very much loved tourist attraction BUT have you ever heard of Sicily's Stonehenge? Also have you every wondered where the Sicilians head after the high tourist season when the summer crowds

Making Mostarda (Wine Must)

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  Autumn is a wonderful time of year to visit Sicily and one of the most important harvests on the island is 'Vendemmia', the grape harvest.  The grape harvest in Sicily starts in late August and continues through September. It is the moment when the grapes, having absorbed all the Sicilian sun that they need, are ready to be picked and  prepared for vinification to make delicious Sicilian wine. Wine in Sicily has a history thousands of years old created from the essence of many invading civilisations. When we are in Sicily at this time of year my Sicilian big brother's children usually come to visit us to play with our dog Daisy and they will bring us a gift of 'Mostarda' homemade by their nonna (their grandmother).  It is a common gift to give to neighbours and friends.  Mostarda is a very thick marmalade made from cooked wine grapes called must.  This must is called in Italian 'Mosta' and in Sicilian dialect 'Mustu'. The must is created after the