The Ultimate Culinary Experience in Sicily in 2017

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My first trip to Sicily and my first villa experience were one in the same. After spending a few nights at Rocca delle Tre Contrade, I arrived at the conclusion that there is no better way to enjoy Sicily. Complete with 11 bedrooms and space for 22 guests, you’ll also find incredible views and a staff going the extra mile to provide the supreme comforts of home. This is just as an ideal spot to visit with family and friends as it is for an intimate destination wedding. The 360-degree panoramic views take your eyes from the sparkling Ionian Sea to the lava peak of Mount Etna.
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I just recently received exciting news from their exclusive luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller that Rocca delle Tre Contrade, has joined forces with acclaimed Chef Skye Gyngell for a two week-long culinary experiences exploring the gastronomic bounty and cuisine of the Mediterranean’s largest and most diverse island. This is truly a bucket list culinary experience!
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Skye Gyngell is one of the most respected chefs working in the UK. After working at a variety of high level restaurants, including La Varenne in Paris and The Dorchester in London, Skye became head chef at Petersham Nurseries, where the earned her Michelin star. In 2014, Skye opened Spring, in Somerset House, London. It quickly became regarded as one of the capital’s top restaurants.

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Below please find details for the course:

  • Six days immersed in a full food and wine program with Skye Gyngell, including cookery demo sessions and ‘hands on’ lessons with Skye Gyngell and her team
  • Seven hands-on sessions in the villa’s large demonstration kitchen (each work station shared by two participants)
  • Seven nights’ accommodation at the private luxury villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade in double rooms (single occupancy also available)
  • The presence of Jon Moslet, co-owner of Rocca delle Tre Contrade and expert in Sicilian wine and gastronomic traditions
  • A program of guided tours with English-speaking guide and related ground transportation
  • All meals including wine and beverages (7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Transfers between Catania Fontanarossa Airport and Rocca delle Tre Contrade on the first and last days of the week
  • Complimentary in-house laundry service (dry-cleaning not included)
The course is available for two weeks this spring, the week of March 25 and also the week of April 22.
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About the villa:
Rocca delle Tre Contrade occupies a stunningly panoramic position atop its own hill on Sicily’s east coast. The views of this former aristocratic estate are further enhanced by the intense greens and citrus flashes of the villa’s grounds, which feature lemon groves, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. The magnificence of Mother Nature is rivalled only by the spectacular 25-metre, south-facing infinity pool and the delightful interiors, which have been renovated and refurbished to exactingly high standards.
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Cauliflower Tacos

Cauliflower Tacos

Cauliflower has become so popular lately, making its way in recipes of all types. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, those Cauliflower Tacos have become a family favorite! This recipe is so simple too! Roast the cauliflower with olive oil, chili powder, garlic, cumin and salt and serve in your favorite tortillas with any taco toppings. This makes a great weeknight dinner and is also wonderful you’re wanting to eat clean and light, but good! With only 70 calories per serving and very little carbohydrates and fat, what more could you want?

5 Tips for National Cake Decorating Day

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So… I am in Lake Como, Italy staying at the amazing Grand Hotel Tremezzo this week, and I was on the plane Saturday so I didn’t get to post this. Before I do, here is just one o my views today.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Back to a few days ago, I wanted to share that Chicago’s French-inspired patisserie, Vanille, and their 5 tips for decorating the perfect buttercream cake for National Cake Decorating Day, which was Saturday. Owner and baker, Sophie Evanoff, shares some of her best buttercream cake decorating tips on my blog to inspire and make the best cake decorator of everyone. Check out her 5 tips for national cake decorating day below:

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5 Tips for Buttercream Cakes

  1. Rustic buttercream– Easier to accomplish than a smooth sided cake and still looks professional.
  2. Add bought décor to cover up any problem areas. For example, chocolate décor, sugar flowers.
  3. Add nuts, sprinkles, chocolate curls to the side of cake, this will cover up any mishaps and don’t require a smooth finish.
  4. Add organic fresh flowers to any cake for a simple yet elegant touch.
  5. Combed finish- Makes any cake look even and finished.

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Founded in 2002, Vanille specializes in French-inspired artisanal pastries, desserts, and cakes. Owned and operated by Sophie Evanoff, Vanille prides itself on its premier quality and taste. From the ever-popular French macarons to the freshly baked croissants and handmade chocolates and candies, every creation shows Vanille’s true dedication to its craft. Vanille currently operates two Chicago locations; one at 2108 N. Clark St. in Lincoln Park and one at the French Market located inside Ogilvie Metra Station at 131 N. Clinton Ave. A third store opens this September at 3243 N. Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.