The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure  part I

trinacria bella how sicily was born

 The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure  part I

by Salvatore Cottone aka Sotiris Vanvakys

edited by www.OnpointTranslation.com

 

 

There are 12 Wine Trails of Sicily, and most have names related to local D.O.C. wines (see the related map).

 

 Dyonisious putto wine copyBetween toasts (Salute!) these extraordinary paths will lead you to the discovery of a land blessed by the sun, the gods, and the ancient Trinacria: a civilization with more than three thousand years of history. According to Greek legend, Dionysius himself, the god of spirits, brought the young roots from the Magna Greciae to this fertile soil, created with the intention of growing excellent produce and, above all, the “divine nectar“.  

 

PALERMO, CONTESSA ENTELLINA, MONREALE

 

Cappella Palatina by VanvakysWe present these trails starting from the county of Palermo and follow the road to Monreale D.O.C., with more than 16,000 hectares of vineyards, of which Cataratto is certainly the king. The D.O.C. wines from these hills pertain to the counties of Sclafani, Contessa Entellina and Monreale, a name that brings to mind the beautiful Norman town with its famous cathedral-considered a virtual wonder of the world for the rich assortment of golden Byzantine mosaics that gild the cathedral’s interior. Curiously, the Cattedrale di Monreale contains the first holy image dedicated to Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, commissioned by his friend, Margaret of Navarre, wife of William I and mother of William II King of Sicily. She is buried in magnificent marble sarcophagus along with her two sons, Roger and Henry, together with an urn containing the viscera of Saint Louis of France, who died in 1270.

Slice of Cassata CakeConstruction of the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was begun in 1174 by William II and was officially promoted to the designation of Cathedral in 1182. A distinct combination of three architectural styles- Norman French, Byzantine and Arab- the impressive and painstakingly detailed interior is a sight to behold. Be sure

 

visit the cloister of the abbey, an outdoor marvel of Norman Monreale Absideand Romanesque styles consisting of a perfect square of ornately carved arches in stone and limestone, depicting all manner of mythical, legendary and historical icons, including biblical figures, Norman knights and Arab warriors. The famous Arab Fountain in the southwest corner of the courtyard is exquisite. 

 

 

The territory within Monreale is vast. It is, in fact, the largest geographical province in all of Italy and incorporates the following municipalities:

 

Antipasti Siciliani small  copy 5Easter in Sicily the Devils dancing_8 Prizzi by Vnavakys.com copyFicuzza woods  copyCannoli Palermitani by VRC copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piana degli Albanesi to the north, arguably the home of the most famous cannoli, throughout Corleone and its forestal district of Ficuzza, and extending south to Prizzi, one of the capitals of Sicilian cheese, such as “pecorino cannestrato” and “caciocavallo”.

 

Prizzi Small  copyPasqua a Piana Degli Albanesi by VanvakysCastelvetrano - pane nero e olive di CastelvetranoPiana degli Albanesi Jewels SM

 

 

 

 

  

OUR OILS & PRODUCE  CHOICE>>>

 

stock-photo-copyright-symbol-as-a-wax-seal-80699464The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure

by Salvatore Cottone New York, July 2013 Translation and editing by www.OnpointTranslation 

 

 >>Continue reading PART II >>

 

ULYSSES AND POLYPHEMUS…A LEGENDARY DRINK

ULYSSES AND POLYPHEMUS…A LEGENDARY DRINK

Ulysses and Polifemo mosaic copy 2

 

 “The wine that came forth was strong and generous, and took well to transport, as compared to much of the must that came from other provinces“, a fact well-known to Odysseus (referred to as Ulysses in Latin).

Ulysses, the principal protagonist of Homer’s Odyssey (book IX), disembarks at Sicily, where his hunger for knowledge, and food, leads him and his companions to battle with Polyphemus. According to Greek and Roman mythology, Polyphemus was a cyclopes: a giant man with just one eye. The cyclopes were blacksmiths, and helpers of “Efesto” or Vulcan, who most likely lived in widely dispersed caves in the vicinity of Etna Volcano (Mount Etna has been enlisted as World Heritage Site (July 2013) comprises the most strictly protected and scientifically important area of Mount Etna, and forms part of theParco dell’Etna” The Regional Nature Park).

Etna in Spingtime copy Ulysses and his men, weary from their journey at sea, came upon this territory and took refuge in one of the caves, where they feasted on all the food they could find, and rested until the monster, and cannibal, Polyphemus, returns home.Upon discovering the trespassers, Polyphemus imprisons them in the cave, making no secret of his plan to eat them for dinner.

 

ner_masUlysses knew that the terrible monster would not be beaten by force, but by wit.Ulysses sent his men to collect the grapes of a most potent wine, probably Nerello Mascalese, a native grape which grows plentifully in those parts, and convinced Polyphemus to drink their juice, offering him the nectar of the gods, that is, wine.Polyphemus, unknowing of the consequence, drank as much of the delicious nectar as they could extract. He adored this new-found pleasure, and, between mouthfuls of bread and cheese, he gulped the wine until he was quite intoxicated, and feel asleep without securing his prisoners.