Europe 2014 travel blog

Sicilian beer

Making Cannoli

What a day! New best day ever. We had planned a private tour with about 13 other people. Turns out the guy who planned the tour booked with 2 companies. 7 went with Mario of and the other 8 went with the other company. So our day started out a bit later and with a bit of stress. Mario was great, we went to Castlemonte first. Way up high in the hills an incredible little village that has been there for hundreds of years, literally carved out of rock with walls that have been repaired with bits and pieces of brick and tile and lava rock from Mt Etna over the decades. Narrow windy roads. One thing I have learned in Italy and Sicily, all driving signs, stop, speed limit no parking, etc is just a suggestion, no one does what the signs say. We even drove on the wrong side of the road.

Then after an hour we were off to Taormina which is an absolutely charming tourist town. Beautiful narrow streets, we ate arancini which is an arborio rice ball stuffed with cheese and spinach or prosciutto and cheese or beef, tomato and cheese and deep fried, not greasy and traditional fast food. We had the beef and tomato and it was excellent. A little later on we had our first cannoli, pistachio and ricotta stuffed into a pastry tube. It was ok but we shared it and that was enough. More walking and then gelato, lemon and raspberry, delicious. We spent 2 hours in this beautiful place far above the beaches. Mario is passionate about his country and we learned so much and had a wonderful day. He topped it off with a tour of Messina and took us to a bakery where he treated us to a cannoli which the 91 year old baker put together right in front of us, so really fresh, absolutely wonderful. His tours are usually more expensive than the other company but he honoured their price. We were so happy with him and his tour that we were happy to give him very generous tips.

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