Southern Sicily - Discovering Ragusa & Modica™

Sicilian Cooking, Wine & Chocolate ~ 7 Day

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Discover the secrets of Southern Sicily’s remarkable cuisine with Chef Silvio and immerse yourself in Sicilian cooking classes and pasta making classes while touring beautiful Ragusa in a UNESCO site of Val de Noto.  You’ll fall in love with Sicily after experiencing the unforgettable tastes and sights of Modica, Ragusa, and Scicli – in the province of Ragusa.

Modica – Cooking at the Villa

Chef Silvio brings the villa’s kitchen alive with seafood, meats, vegetables and pastries in the traditional style of Southeast Sicily. His specialties are dishes with strong connections to the region’s culture and traditions: baked tuna with anchovy-onion sauce, chicken with fresh local root vegetables and stuffed arancini. Under his kind and patient instruction, you’ll use fresh local herbs and produce throughout the recipes you prepare, including basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, wild onions and fennel, as well as tomatoes, peas, pine nuts, raisins, and citrus and other bounty from the villa’s own off-site gardens. You’ll learn the history of Sicilian cooking and taste local artisan offerings like cheeses, olives, olive oil, breads and muddica, Sicily’s magical seasoned breadcrumbs. In a region famous for red wine, there are an abundance of offerings from local vineyards including the villa’s own winery in nearby Porto Ulisse.

Your first hands-on cooking class will focus on pasta and desserts. Pasta in the Sicilian style can be prepared many ways – with fresh tomatoes, fried zucchini flowers, sardines or toasted muddica. Pasta making classes have you mixing and rolling out delicious ravioli, riccota-filled pockets, and fusilli with eggplant. Sicilian desserts are praised and loved by all – think cannoli with ricotta and almond cookies scented with fiori di Sicilia – a citrus and vanilla extract. In Cooking Class 2, Chef Silvio will teach you to prepare antipasti – with both vegetables and meat.  Slice, dice, grill and fill Sicilian eggplant, pumpkin and zucchini with herbs, extra virgin olive oil and cheese.  Then layer, bake and enjoy with a sip and swirl of local wine.  Lesson 3 will unveil the secrets of two of the region’s famous foods: arancini, stuffed and fried rice balls, and scacce, focaccia bread.  You’ll learn hands-on the art of mixing the dough, then preparing and stuffing it with tomatoes, pork, mozzarella and peas.  Chef Silvio combines hands-on and collaborative cooking for an end result that is simply delicious.

Exploring the Val di Noto

A welcoming fare of local artisan delights greets you as you arrive and check in. Relax, take a swim and immerse yourself into the gentle pace of Southern Sicily. A welcome dinner featuring a full-course dinner of Sicilian fare with a toast of Nero d’Avola wine follows.

The second day begins with a typical Sicilian breakfast: Italian coffee, fresh juices, fruit, and artisan pastries and breads with butter and preserves. Properly fortified, you’ll journey to Modica to begin your exploration of the region. First stop: the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto – Modica’s oldest chocolate factory, which uses ancient methods traceable through the Spanish Empire all the way back to the Aztecs, for a demonstration and a tasting. For lunch we’ll visit “Osteria dei Sapori Perduti” (Tavern of the Forgotten Tastes). In the afternoon, you’ll explore the sights of Modica, which like most of this area was completely rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1693 by a new breed of Sicilian architects trained in the sophisticated baroque style popular on the mainland.

Day three begins with a trip to Marzameni and a tasting and tour at one of the region’s most renowned wineries. After a light lunch, explore the historic fishing village before heading back to the hotel for your first cooking lesson. Day four’s destination is Ispica and the ancient Cava Ispica catacombs, then in the afternoon you’ll collaborate with Chef Silvio on a menu for the evening’s gourmet dinner. Enjoy a glass of fruity Cerasuolo or robust Nero d’Avola while you cook.

Ricotta is one of Sicily’s premier contributions to Italian cuisine and day five begins with a tasting of artisan ricotta at a local farmhouse. In the afternoon, visit historic Ragusa Ibla and discover world-famous ceramics from nearby Caltagirone (Arabic: “Castle of Pottery). In the evening, return for dinner at the villa, featuring bounty of the sea cooked in traditional Sicilian fashion. On the final day, explore the village of Scicli with with your own Fiat 500 and a personal driver, then return to the villa for a cooking lesson and a grand final dinner of meat and fish grilled in the Sicilian style.

Modica Accommodations

Palm trees wave in the breeze as you arrive at the hillside villa, its stonework arches and salmon hues create a cozy feeling under the Sicilian sun.  Take a moment and soak in the breathtaking view of the Val de Noto from Pozzallo for a spanning image to Capo Passero, at Italy’s southernmost tip.

This princely villa is owned by a noble family whose tradition and roots run deep.  The villa is set in a lush green garden surrounded by olive and carob trees with singing birds that serenade.  There’s a gorgeous swimming pool where you can sink into your lounge chair and sip a refreshing strawberry or mandarin granita.  After a day of exploring, cooking or shopping, relax in your spacious room with air conditioning and all of the comfortable amenities one needs.  Spacious rooms furnished with canopy beds and high ceilings include wifi internet, hair dryers and safes, along with private ensuite baths. Daily breakfast and maid service are included.

Itinerary ~ 7 Days, 6 Nights

Day One: Check In & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrive at the villa, check in, and enjoy a glass of wine and a welcome buffet of local artisan delights.
  • Relax or take a swim in the villa pool.
  • Enjoy your welcome dinner prepared by Chef Silvio, featuring Sicilian fare with a toast of Nero d’ Avola wine included.

Day Two: Tour to Modica, Visit to Chocolate Maker, Artisan Cheese Maker & Sicilian Dinner

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Excursion to Modica with driver with a visit to the oldest and most famous artisan chocolatier.  Tour includes a demonstration and includes chocolate tastings.
  • Following the tour, lunch at our favorite trattoria with wine included.
  • After lunch, explore Modica and experience the panoramic vista of the surrounding countryside and breathtaking Sicilian Baroque architecture.
  • Return to the villa for a traditional dinner with wine included.

Day Three: Tour to Marzameni, Wine Tour & Tasting Lunch & Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for an excursion to Marzameni.  Explore the ancient seaside village that is famous for tuna.
  • Following Marzameni, tour the award-winning winery and wine museum.  You will tour and taste, with lunch and wine included.  Typical bread and cheese included.
  • Following the tour, return to the property for Cooking Class 1, focusing on pasta and desserts.
  • Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine.

Day Four: Tour Ispica & Cooking Class 2 with Sicilian Dinner

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for an excursion to Ispica. Visit the Parco Forza and soak up the sights, architecture and, if you chose, visit the catacombs.
  • Light lunch with wine included.
  • Following the tour, return to the villa.
  • In the afternoon, tie on your apron for Cooking Class 2, focusing on Sicilian antipasti.
  • Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine.

Day 5: Tour to Ragusa Ibla & Visit Farm with Ricotta Tasting & Sicilian Dinner

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for a tour to a farmhouse where you will learn the secrets of artisan ricotta-making with tasting and lunch included.
  • In the afternoon, visit Ragusa Ibla.  Discover the world-famous pottery from the artisans of Caltagirone.
  • Take time out for lunch on your own.
  • Return to the villa for a dinner featuring seafood Sicilian fare with wine included.

Day 6: Tour to Scicli in a Fiat 500 with Driver & Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for an excursion to Scicli in a Fiat 500.
  • Tour Scicli, enjoy lunch and shopping on your own.
  • In the afternoon, tie on your apron for Cooking Class 3, focusing on arancini, stuffed and fried rice balls, and scacce, focaccia bread.
  • Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with a toast of wine.

Day 7: Check Out & Departure

  • Breakfast is served, check out and departure.

*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the program.

Program Includes:

  • 7 days, 6 nights in a four-star villa, based on 2 guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes with Chef Silvio with dinner following including the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with wine.
  • 3 food tours to a chocolatier, artisan ricotta maker and winery.
  • 3 lunches with wine included
  • 6 dinners at the villa with wine included.
  • 3 excursions to Marzameni, Ispica and Ragusa Ibla with driver.
  • 1 excursion to Scicli in a Fiat 500 with driver.
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe booklet
Program Prices

$5,395 per person, based on 2 guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

Check Availability

*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.

2024 Dates: This program is available throughout the year and start your program on any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.