A glass of Sicilian red wine with Etna in the background



My biggest surprise of this most sumptuous of islands is just how much the life is dominated by its fiery goddess Etna. She can be seen piercing the skyline with her smoke forever present in the daytime to give way to a glowing lava flow visible by dusk. As Dionysus casts his dreamy spell over the towns at Etna’s feet, the revelling mortals fill their heads with the glories of the Goddess’s fertile energy seemingly oblivious to the ambiguities of her smouldering passion…

The local wines give immediate insight into the richness of the soil, the essence of the island’s power. The stunning medieval town of Taormina with it’s glorious stone architecture and breathtaking views formed the backdrop for my Sicilian introduction. A bottle of inexpensive Etna biancho did it for me straight away.

The minerality; so evocative of the volcanic ash from which it evolved is instantly recognised. Another of grillo grape variety was even more intense ….all extremely lovely.


The views from the terrace restaurants in Taormina were indescribably beautiful. Two dishes from the amazing restaurant of the Timeo Hotel particularly stood out. The first was the amuse bouche of black cuttlefish on potato purée. The second was a dish of gnocchi and seaweed on a bed of seafood infused butter and cockles with tomato foam. This second dish has certainly got me thinking….a reconstruction of this perhaps with a forthcoming recipe? I’ll bear it in mind…




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