I was introduced to Italian food and wine culture through my immigrant Sicilian grandparents. My professional career in restaurants arose out of a curiosity and love of the culinary experiences that I remembered having with my family.
After college, I moved to Rome, Italy to immerse myself in Italian culture before starting my career in the wine business, selling fine Italian wines throughout California. I have been living between Italy and the United States for more than a decade, working in wine trade in both New York and California, as well as food and wine tourism in Rome, Italy and on Mount Etna in Sicily.
I am a Certified Sommelier level 2 with the Court of Masters, as well as an Italian Wine Specialist with the North American Sommelier Association and North and Central Italy certified with Ian d’Agata’s 3iC Italian wine curriculum. I divide my time between Italy, New York and California, working as an ambassador for select Italian wine brands, and curating culinary experiences in Italy and the USA.
“Having been lucky enough to travel around the world and throughout Italy, I would be hard-pressed to find a more passionate, dynamic, fun & talented person than Brittany Carlisi. Her knowledge and contacts on Mount Etna helped make Sip Trip, my travel documentary, complete. From granita to wine, Brittany KNOWS who to meet and where to eat!”Jeff Porter– Sommelier & Host of Sip Trip
“I’ve worked with Brittany Carlisi for eleven years in the Italian wine business, both in events and sales. Brittany is an expert in Italian food, wine and culture. She is the go to person for an authentic, immersive experience regarding all things Italy with an emphasis on Mount Etna. Brittany is a natural and charismatic host that uses her passion to create a fun and educational environment for her guests.”Joe Bastianich – American restaurateur, winemaker, author, television personality, and musician
What is Enogastronimic Tourism? The word Enogastronomy is slowly being introduced into the English language and comes from the Italian word Enogastronomia (eno•gas•tron•o•mia), which is the tying together of food, wine, and culture.
I collaborate with a variety of tourism companies in Italy to create tailor made tours based on guest preferences and the type of experience they are looking for. From winery visits, cooking classes, volcano excursions and door-to-door driving services, I can custom build an experience for you in collaboration with my many associates in Italy.
For all food, wine and culture tours, we ask you to advise us prior of any allergies or dietary restrictions or preferences you may have. We recommend to dress like an onion, in layers of clothing as the temperature is frequently changing on Mount Etna all times of the year, ranging form sunny, warm days thanks to the hot Sicilian sun, and cooler nights and winter months due to the high elevation of the volcano making Etna alpine climate although it is in the center of the Mediterranean. Etna is not only known for its sunny days but also it’s abundant rainfall, so a rain jacket, umbrella and close toed shoes for walking through the rugged, volcanic terrain is suggested. A 50% deposit will be required upon booking and the remainder due 72 hours before your tour start time. Cancellations must be made 72 hours before tour start time for a full refund. Payment can be paid via bank transfer or Venmo. Upon tour confirmation, please provide your full name, address, email and phone number and an invoice will be sent with total amount due and the required deposit.
Crater Tour with Volcanologist
This tour is always suggested at the very beginning of your day or days on the volcano so that you get a better understanding of the territory, climate, unique soils and rich history of eruptions on Europe’s highest elevation and regularly active Mount Etna. Explore the craters and enjoy scenic views with options ranging from sunrise to sunset. For the brave and adventurous a trip all the way up to the summit can be arranged as well as something more strenuous for the athletic type wanting to break a sweat and balance out the Dolce Vita lifestyle in between indulging.
These tours are very educational and will prepare you for the rest of your wine, food and culture experiences. Rides can be arranged to and from lodging if needed. Group and Private tours available.
Winery Visit and Lunch Tour
Lunch plus a tour and tasting at an Etna winery
1-3 more winery visits can be scheduled on the day of your winery visit and will be discounted at a packaged full day price. Contessa Consulting has a great relationship with many wineries on Mount Etna and visits can be arranged based on the clients preference, palate profile and desire of depth in learning about the history, different wine production zones around the Etna DOC.
Bronte Pistacchio DOP Farm Visit and Lunch
Visit Bronte Pistacchio DOP the home of Pistachio cultivation on Mount Etna, located on the northwest side of the volcano. Three generations of women run this operation, doing everything themselves from tending to the pistachio trees that are sprung from the rocks and gravel of ancient volcanic soils to harvesting and preparing a variety of pistachio products. The Arabs brought the pistachio tree to Sicily like many other agricultural crops and imprints of culture. The pistachio trees mutated to the volcanic soils and only bear fruit every other year on Mount Etna, the harvest usually being in the month of September. This biennial harvest gives the Bronte Pistacchio DOP richer shades of purple and green, higher concentration of oils and flavors and amounts to a much smaller production then the other common growing zones of Iran, Turkey and California resulting in a higher price, almost double the cost of aforementioned countries. Your visit will include a tour of the pistachio trees, and a lunch featuring pistachio products and dishes throughout each course.
Gelato Tasting and Granita Making Class with Gelato Master
This class is one of my personal favorites and is lead by Giovanna Musumeci, a Gelato Master who participates in gelato competitions all over Italy. Her pistachio gelato with pistachio brittle and orange zest named “Green Gold” is highly awarded and not to miss! The gelato and granita selection is all made in house mostly from local, seasonal ingredients found in Sicily. This class takes place at a family owned “pasticceria” pastry shop in the heart of the town of Randazzo across from the ancient, catholic basilica church, Santa Maria Assunto. Giovanna will walk you through a selection of gelato tastes and then you will participate in making the classic Sicilian lemon granita and whatever pastry she may be working on that day. Giovanna is a lot of fun, be prepared to be laughing throughout your visit and leave in high spirts!
Wine Dinner with Sommelier and Owner Sandro Di Bella of the iconic Cave Ox, “the Umbilical Cord of Etna.”
A five course dinner of authentic Sicilian dishes made of seasonal, local ingredients and each paired with unique wines chosen to accompany and enhance every course. Sandro will be there to walk you though the wines, tell you a bit about them and explain why he chose them to pair with your dish. The Wine Dinner includes an Amaro Tasting at the end with Sandro’s eclectic selection of amari coming from Sicily and all over Italy. Transportation can be arranged and is recommended to and from dinner.
Aperitivo at Wine Bar in Heart of Randazzo
An aperitivo, which is an Italian happy hour of sorts including a selection of charcuterie and 3 tastes of wines at family owned wine bar in Randazzo. This is a great place to pick up wines to take home and other Sicilian delicacies to enjoy on your trip or bring back home.
Volcano Dinner Cruise with RIANA Yacht
“We have engaged the services of Brittany Carlisi on several occasions over the past years to conduct and manage the food, beverage and entertainment elements for several bespoke Sicily and Stromboli Volcano cruises on Riana Yacht.
On each occasion, Brittany curated extraordinary wine, food and cultural events on board as guests sailed the beautiful Sicilian waters.
In particular, the Volcano Dinner Cruises, with the yacht drifting in front of the always active Stromboli Volcano, provided an incredible backdrop and show as our guests wined and dined over a comprehensive menu of authentic and seasonal ingredients designed by Brittany in conjunction with talented local chefs.
To top it all off, the already unforgettable ambiance, was enhanced by the addition of a first class local vocalist and acoustic guitarist whom provided the perfect background music to make the evenings truly magical.”
An areal view of all 7 of the currently active craters on Mount Etna, a truly mind blowing experience that you will never forget.
Full transportation for your visit to Sicily or just for a day of experiences is offered and recommended for winery visits.
Accommodations can be arranged for your time in Sicily ranging from the classic agriturismo bnb, boutique hotels and luxury resorts.
Boating Excursions in the Mediterranean Sea and to the Aeolian Islands
Street Food and Market Tour in Palermo, Sicily
Street Food and Fish Market Tour in Catania, Sicily
Salumeria Visit, Tasting of Locally Sourced Charcuterie and Porchetta Demo
Cooking Class Lunch in Taormina
Olive Oil Tour and Tasting
“Brittany created such a beautiful day for us that gave us more connection with Sicily and what is produced/grown and made there than any other day of our trip. She was super communicative and booked us with so many great experiences even though we had only given her a few days notice! I’d highly recommend her services whether you want to plan a whole trip with activities spread throughout, or you’d like a window into the very authentic Sicily for a day or two. I loved that the activities we ended up doing didn’t feel touristy at all, and felt incredibly genuine and special.”
“Brittany planned an absolutely magical trip for me around Mt. Etna! I wasn’t super familiar with the area, but had a general idea for the kinds of things I wanted to do and see. After a quick conversation about my interests, she suggested several activities that were a perfect fit and planned a few days in this special place that I’ll never forget! Brittany is connected with seemingly everyone around Etna and we were welcomed warmly and treated like family everywhere we went. From incredible winery tours and wonderful dinners, to the most special visit to a local pistachio farm and gelato making with an absolute master of her craft, Brittany totally nailed it. I’d highly recommend working with her to plan your food and wine excursions around Etna. She’s deeply knowledgeable about the area and planned such a fun-filled (and wine-fueled!) adventure. If you’re thinking about working with her to plan your trip, stop thinking and just do it. You won’t be disappointed!
Thank you again for planning such an incredible trip! It really was wonderful.”
“Brittany has the knowledge and network of contacts to make your trip great. But what made her special for us was her ability – and willingness – to work with us tirelessly to be sure that we got exactly the trip we wanted and for a very fair price. Look no further!”
PRIVATE EVENTS & POPUPS
Being raised in a family of restaurateur-entertainers has its benefits. After years of working in restaurants and catering, I am well adept at organizing enogastronomic events in the USA and Italy.
I collaborate with friends and partners in the food and wine industry to organize tastings and events that present Italian cuisine and culture in exciting and engaging ways.
I can be hired as a sommelier and educator for wine events but also curate wine dinners and private events with talented chefs, who design authentic and innovative menus for the optimal dining experience.
WINE TRADE CONSULTING
Based on my experience working in restaurants, wholesale distribution and as a supplier of Italian wine, my company provides wine trade consulting for Italian wine producers looking for representation in the USA and for distributors and importers worldwide looking for Italian wineries to represent.
I am an ambassador in the US market for a selection of artisan Italian wineries. I work independently and with importers and distributors to oversee sales and marketing, education, events and product placement.
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Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.
– Paolo Coelho