Wine Tasting At Villa Britannia TaorminaThe wine industry in Sicily has been going through a period of rapid change over the past twenty years. The popularity and prestige of Sicilian wine is rapidly on the rise across the world.
One of the best experiences in Sicily is wine tasting.
Two years ago I was lucky to be introduced to Louisa Vittorio and Marco Patti, owners of Villa Britannia in Taormina, by my lovely friend Teresa who lives in our town. Teresa's son used to go to the same school as Marco and the two have remained great friends ever since.
Two years ago we visited the villa to explore and learn more about their fabulous cooking classes and we absolutely fell in love with it and have returned many times since.
An eight minute walk from the centre of Taormina, Villa Britannia is a small exclusive boutique bed and breakfast located in a tranquil position overlooking the town and the Ionian Sea. The villa is surrounded by a beautiful garden which hosts an ancient Roman soldiers tomb. Marco and Louisa have lovingly refurbished the villa with vintage, designer and antique furniture together with art and sculptures by local artists. It is also home to one of the best cooking classes in the area. You can enjoy a "hands on" cookery class including an aperitif and four course lunch with wines.
Aside from cooking classes Villa Britannia also hosts wine tasting evenings. Marco is a trained and certified sommelier, he certainly knows his wines.This May, myself, Teresa, my husband and our dog Daisy were invited to experience wine tasting at the villa.
We excitedly arrived at the villa and received a huge warm welcome from Louisa and Marco (as always) and their little dog Easy. The smell of delicious cooking was drifting out from the villa's kitchen.
We sat at their very large dining table on the terrace and were joined by two guests staying at the villa from the USA, Rebecca and Taylor. After introductions were made we were ready for our tasting. All wines were to be accompanied by home made dishes typical of Sicilian cuisine to complement each type of wine.
First to the table Louisa brought out some locally produced cheese made just outside Taormina in the countryside accompanied by some onion chutney made at the villa, local sundried tomatoes, olives from the families own olive trees and delicious locally baked bread.
The first white wine we were to taste was a Terre della Baronia Bianco D.O.P. a wine from Azienda Agricola G. Milazzo in the province of Agrigento. Marco described the flavours, notes and aromas before we tasted then poured us each a measure.
To go with our next wine Louisa brought out bruschetta with marinated anchovies from the Sicilian sea and freshly caught mussels topped with a buttery garlic bread crumb mixture.
Our next white wine was a Berlinghieri Grillo D.O.C from Cantine Di Legami located in the west coast of Sicily in the Trapani countryside.
The next dish brought to the table to accompany our first red wine of the night was a dish of polpette di melanzane which are like fritters made with aubergine (eggplant), Louisa's were enhanced with mint which is a typical Arabic style of ingredient in Sicily.
Our first red wine was a Cerasuolo di Vittorio D.O.C.G from Gulfi Vini in the province of Ragusa.
Finally to accompany our last red wine we enjoyed Sicilian salsicca (sausage with fennel) my favourite and meat involtini stuffed with local cheese. Involtini are like small bundles of food stuffed into a food wrap.
Our last red wine was a Zafarana Nero d'Avola, another wine from Cantine Di Legami.
Finally at the end of our wine tasting we tried Pellegrino Nes Passito di Pantelleria, Pantelleria is a small island off the south west coast of Sicily. This is a sweet dessert wine best enjoyed after a meal.
With our dessert wine in hand we all sat around the table discussing the wines, Sicilian cuisine and life in Sicily, the UK and the USA until it was time to go home but not before Daisy had to have her photo taken with her Uncle Marco.
I am not going to share with you the flavours, notes and aromas as I believe this would spoil your experience when you visit Villa Britannia for your own wine tasting experience.
We had an absolutely amazing evening, Marco was the perfect sommelier explaining each wine with expertise and professionalism. The wines were the perfect choice which we really enjoyed as all our past experiences of wine tasting have been in wineries on Mount Etna tasting Etna wines so it was refreshing to try wines from other regions of Sicily.
The food was absolutely delicious and wonderfully cooked and complemented each wine perfectly whilst exhibiting the best of Sicilian cuisine.
We would like to say a big thank you to Marco and Louisa for inviting us and being the perfect hosts as always. They create ambient experiences that recreate the atmosphere of what Taormina would have been like during its golden age with Marco often taking to the piano. Did I mention he is also a great piano player too?
Aside from cooking classes and wine tasting Villa Britannia has two beautiful suites, the D H Lawrence suite and the Truman Capote suite. The rooms are named after their close proximity to Fontana Vecchia the house where D H Lawrence lived for four years and Truman Capote one year.
Not to be missed in Villa Britannia is the large lounge area that incorporates an antique bar that is one half of the oldest bar worktops to be found in Taormina. It is hand carved and painted in a typical Sicilian way which depicts the battles of Charlemagne and his Paladin Knights. The bar was last used as the main desk at the Compagnia Italiana Turismo office on Corso Umberto (closed in 2008) where Louisa's father once worked.
Villa Britannia is truly "a home away from home".
For more information visit www.villabritannia.com
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Love Sarah & Daisy x
Daisy was adopted from London charity 'All Dogs Matter'Visit their website atwww.alldogsmatter.co.ukThey have many rescue dogs who are all looking to find a forever homejust like Daisy did