Friday, July 21, 2017

Cooking with the experience in Palermo in a palazzo that will please! (7-19-17)

We drove north from the south coast to the north coast in only 90 minutes and ended our drive at Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, which having been partially destroyed in WWII, has been lovingly restored by the Duke & Duchess of Palma (also Princes of Lampedusa) and just visiting this home is a memorable experience for its history, art, furniture and more; it is a living museum.
The Duchess (she prefers Nicoletta) gives cooking classes periodically in her kitchen and we spent the morning learning how to make many dishes. Eight of us then sat down in a magnificent dining room fit for a king and set beautifully and flawlessly, where we had a leisurely lunch with Nicoletta and her charming husband, Gioacchino, who it turns out, was the general manager of many opera houses in Italy including the Teatro Massimo nearby and the Teatro San Carlo in Naples; needless to say, we had many friends in common!
The meal began with Samuel's new favorite Palermo treat, Panelle, which are merely fritters made from chickpea flour. Ruvidelli with Pesto Trapanese was next, and while we made the pesto differently from our class the day before, it was still superb. We learned that each kitchen has its own variation on this everyday recipe here in the west of Sicily. Pesca Spada (Swordfish) alla Ghiotta was s super stewlike recipe with small pieces of fish in the thick tomato-vegentable sauce. This was accompanied by superb Involtini alla Melanzane, which are thin sliced eggplants layers first grilled then stuffed with an almond/caper/mint filling. I am not a fan of mint, but these were simply amazing. Dessert was a Gelo di Mellone al Gelsomino which was a Jasmine infused Watermelon Pudding that was somewhere between pudding and jello.
Wines were served as well: Regaleali Bianco 2015 and Regaleali Nero d'Avola 2014 with a beautiful Vecchio Florio Marsala Secco Superiore 2011 for dessert.
Conversation was amazing and then a tour of the palazzo was made where Nicoletta entertained us with stories about the ancestors whose paintings adorn the walls (I am tagged by my hubby Will on FB for many of the photos in the kitchen and the palazzo). It was a most memorable experience.
FYI-my clients can set up this amazing experience by booking their trips to Sicily through me. Indeed, the Palazzo has multiple apartments which can be rented by the day or week through Frosch Travel as well.