My week has mostly been spent on the wonderful Island of Sicily. My sister Estella and I hopped on a plane to spend a few days in the sunshine. Our first holiday together since being children! We landed in Palermo after our Ryanair flight from Stanstead. A bargain at £102.00 return. We hired a car and drove the hour and fifteen minutes trip from the airport to Cefalu. A small town almost “slap bang” in the middle of the north coast of the island. It was gone midnight when we arrived so no chance of exploring that night. It would have to wait until morning. Straight to bed for us so we could awake fresh faced the following day.
Our villa was AMAZING.. Villa Borghetto, just on the outskirts of Cefalu was perfect in my eyes. Full of traditional Sicilian rustic charm. Lots of pretty painted tiles, whitewashed walls, dark wood furniture etc. Everything I had hoped for. There were fresh lemons and mandarins growing in the garden which we picked as well as an olive tree. I can see how once upon a time people would have been self sufficient. There were facilities to make your own wine, an outside stove to cook your bread and fertile ground to grow your fruit and vegetables.
We were so lucky to have found a spot like this. The villa was nestled in a huge garden on one of the many mountainsides above the town of Cefalu. The views were absolutely stunning. Absolute paradise.
Being in a villa means you can self cater if you desire which we did a couple of times. We purchased some goodies from the local Saturday market to stock our fridge so we could have food at home when we needed it. Both Estella and I are keen cooks so we were excited to have the opportunity to cook up a Sicilian storm in the kitchen.
Breakfasts were a joy on the terrace with the beautiful blue sea glistening in the background! I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt being able to enjoy our breakfasts outside with the warm sun on our backs.
We enjoyed a tour of the old town with Angelo on our first day. He was really informative and full of interesting facts about the area. Cefalu really is a wonderful place. Full of history and beauty. Certain parts, particularly the harbour, reminded me of a town in Dorset (England) called Lyme Regis.
We got to visit lots of wonderful little towns and villages. Gibilmanna with its monastery, Castelbuono for its church and famous pannetone, Isnello for its planetarium plus Saint’Ambrogio for its beautiful beach and clear waters.
Of course we got to sample lots of wonderful Italian food. Some traditional and some more modern. One of the highlights being lunch at Cortile Pepe on our first day with our amazing guide Angelo. The menu at Cortile Pepe was traditional but with a modern twist. We sampled lots of delicious dishes with the slow cooked and then chargrilled octopus being a highlight.
Many gelato’s were consumed… Obviously!
I tried my first ever Aperol Spritz which is a traditional aperitif in Italy. I can’t believe I had never tasted one before especially when I have visited Italy so many times in the past. So beautiful to look at and really rather refreshing. A mix of Aperol and prosecco with lots and lots of ice. Just wonderful on a warm evening with new friends. A perfect summers apéritif.
Estella and I were fortunate enough to have the chance to go out on a boat for the afternoon on perfectly calm seas. We enjoyed a spot of sunbathing while our guide for the day, Giuseppe, had a go at sailing. An extra special treat was when a couple of dolphins decided to escort us most of the way home! I tried to get some photos but they were moving so fast. I managed to get a video which I have posted on my Instagram page if you would like to see it. (@taraskitchen75).
I am now back at home and into the normal routine of work and home life. It has been a bit of a shock to the system especially as the temperature is about 10 degrees C less than in Cefalu. As someone who feels the cold then that was a bit of a challenge. The woolly hat, gloves and scarf came back out in full force! Hopefully it won’t be long until our spring kicks in properly so we can take a layer or two off and expose a bit of skin!
Away from Sicily Steve and I managed a coffee at The Plant Cafe on Cathedral Green in Exeter. I had a meeting with my colleague Suzie from ballet to organise ticket sales for our upcoming dance show that is held bi-annually at the Barnfield Theatre in the heart of Exeter’s city centre. I had wanted to pop to the Farmers Market to get some bread from The Almond Thief bakery and some vegetables from Shillingford Organics. Steve and I thought we could sneak in a quick coffee before my bus to Exminster for my meeting! Steve had the coffee and I opted for a bottle of Heron Valley’s delicious nettle fizz. I think it beats elderflower bubbly hands down.
I have some lovely things scheduled in for next week and I am in the final stages of planning for my next “Tara’s Busy Kitchen Presents” event on the 17th April. Keep looking at my Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter accounts to keep up to date with the latest goings on in my world.
Take care everyone! X