“I’ve worked with Brittany Carlisi for over a decade 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 for creating a fun and educational environment for her guests.”
Joe Bastianich – American restaurateur, winemaker, author, television personality, and musician
Launched in 2009 and fully refitted in 2022, Riana is a custom-built 42-meter, 220-ton luxury sailing yacht with the elegance & grace of the traditional sailing yachts of yesteryear but with all the modern amenities one may expect.
My Volcano Dinner Cruise is a gourmet culinary odyssey. This private sunset dinner cruise sails between Milazzo, Sicily, and the volcanic island of Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands.
Relaxed in luxury as bountiful seasonal delicacies of Sicily are served through sunset. Your gourmet five-course wine-paring dinner begins as we approach the volcanic Island of Stromboli - known for its perpetual eruptions as the "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean."
This once-in-a-lifetime epicurean experience is accented by the rhythm of small eruptions that can be viewed from the safety of Riana.
One to three 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. Visits can be arranged based on the client's preference, palate profile, and desire for depth in learning about the history of different wine production zones around the Etna DOC.
Etna has been one of the most exciting production zones of wine in the world throughout history and today. Mount Etna is Europe's highest-elevation volcano, sitting at 11,000 feet asl in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea on the island of Sicily. The volcano is active though gentle and creates an Alpine - Mediterranean climate.
This paradox consists of long, warm, sunny days, lots of rain, chilly nights, and even enough snow to ski on the volcano in winter. These extreme diurnal temperature swings and well-draining volcanic soils made of black sands, pomace, stones, and rocks consisting of unique minerals coming from deep within the Earth's core are what lead to excellent grape growing conditions that bear fruit with good acidity, intense aromas, flavors, and a sapid, mineral finish.
These highly sought wines are starting to be considered some of the most terroir-expressive, age-worthy wines that rival the noble wines of Barolo and Burgundy.
This tour is always suggested at the beginning of your day or days on the volcano to better understand 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 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 between indulging.
These educational tours will prepare you for the rest of your wine, food, and cultural experiences. Rides can be arranged to and from lodging if needed. Group and Private tours are available.
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 in September. This biennial harvest gives the Bronte Pistacchio DOP richer shades of purple and green and a higher concentration of oils and flavors. It amounts to a much smaller production than the other common growing zones of Iran, Turkey, and California, resulting in a higher price, almost double the cost of the countries mentioned above. Your visit will include a tour of the pistachio trees and a lunch featuring pistachio products and dishes throughout each course.
This class is one of my favorites and is led 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. 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 laugh throughout your visit and leave in high spirits!
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 walk you through the wines, tell you 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 from Sicily and all over Italy. Transportation can be arranged and is recommended to and from dinner.
An aperitivo is an Italian happy hour of sorts, including a selection of charcuterie and three tastes of wines at a family-owned wine bar in Randazzo. This is a great place to pick up wines and other Sicilian delicacies to enjoy on your trip or bring back home.
Find a space in your next Sicilian trip to enjoy the beautiful city of Catania. You can’t come to Sicily and skip the picturesque fish market of Catania, and you just can’t! Take a walk with a Catanese friend around the market and enjoy the best local street food at places hung out by real Sicilians. Your Catanese friend is…us, and this memorable experience is called the Catania street food and fish market tour.
You will roam around the fishmongers selling the fresh catch of the day, locals bartering, and locals greeting one another. Just a day in the life of the market. And you won’t be alone in this, and we will be there to give you what we call the Matrix effect: you will see reality through our Sicilian eyes.
Just drop your guidebook, exit that food blog, stretch your belly, and join our Palermo morning street food tour. Let’s dive together into the most authentic food scene of Palermo!
My Palermo street food tour and the local market tour is an easy stroll with your laidback Sicilian friend around the markets of Capo and Vucciria. We will take our time among the food benches to spot the seasonal products and uncover the secrets of Sicilian cuisine. The experience starts from the very central Teatro Massimo, but the rest of the time will be spent around the backstreets of the city center, where not all tourists dare to wander on their own. We will stop at our favorite street food vendors and offer you the specialties of the day.
Salumeria Visit, Tasting of Locally Sourced Charcuterie, and Porchetta Tour experience and details are coming soon. If you have questions, just email me, and I will answer any and all.
HALF-DAY TOUR OF MOUNT ETNA
Enjoy a sensational easy jeep tour on Mount Etna, along extinct craters and a lava tube cave. All of Mt Etna’s secrets will be unveiled, and unforgettable vistas and stories will mark your holiday in Sicily. This half-day excursion is the perfect solution for all types of visitors and families visiting this active volcano's fiery beauty. On this tour, you will explore one of the most unique areas of Sicily. The experience begins in the morning and lasts 4-5 hours with a focus on the main sites of Etna volcano.
AFTERNOON VISIT OF MOUNT ETNA
The sunset lights enrich this excursion aimed at discovering the most suggestive places of Etna.
On this Mount Etna sunset tour, you will discover secondary craters, and you will take a walk through a lava tube, and reach the large Valle del Bove caldera with a privileged view towards the top of the volcano.
MOUNT ETNA CABLE CAR TOP EASY TOUR
Discover the largest volcano in Europe at 2600 meters altitude, followed by a volcano expert guide. Once you get to the top, you will explore the still-warm craters just at the base of the summit while admiring the beautiful view around. An excursion to an active volcano is a unique adventure, a challenge, and a privilege reserved for the more adventurous. But with an expert guide at your side, you too can face this amazing experience. An excursion with the Etna cable car and a hike at 2600 meters. Downhill trekking is easy and fun, full of unforgettable volcanic landscapes. To finish this volcanic encounter, we will visit one of the many lava caves on Mount Etna.
SPORTY HIKE ON MOUNT ETNA
Explore the hidden beauties of the volcano with this spectacular Etna sport hike. Pack your backpack and come with us for this exciting walking tour! A full-day tour together with our expert guide will take you to unexplored areas, all not accessible by car. Walk over an old lava flow, visit a lava cave and the impressive caldera “Valle del Bove”. If you are a hiking lover and you love mountains, this is the excursion that is right for you. It is a sporty hike and, therefore, not indicated for people who are not trained.
Join Chef Massimo in Taormina as he leads you through a guided market tour in our Shop With The Chef Tour showcasing Sicily’s colorful foods. After the market tour, everyone returns to the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class.
Visit the fruit & vegetable vendor to find out what’s in season and the fishmonger to choose the best fresh catch of the day in Taormina’s historic fish market. Pick up the ingredients for your hands-on cooking class while learning about the local in-season products, Massimo’s family recipes, and traditions.
Next, head into the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class featuring Sicilian specialties such as Ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers, a rainbow of fresh sautéed vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, and zucchini caponata, stuffed artichokes with Chef Massimo’s secret stuffing recipe, fresh egg pasta and either a fish, meat or vegetarian main dish such as involtini, rolled stuffed beef, local fish cooked Taormina-style, or polpette, meatballs.
Each hands-on cooking class includes the preparation of a full Sicilian menu, including a typical Sicilian dessert. Lunch follows, featuring the foods prepared in class and is accompanied by local Sicilian wines, dessert included.
Discover the unique flavors of wine and olive oil in the rugged countryside of the southeastern corner of Sicily. Private tour at your own pace. See an authentic Sicilian Baglio (walled country estate). Enjoy the great wines produced with Sicily's most famous indigenous varietals: Nero d'Avola, Frappato, and Grillo. Get commentary from our expert drivers who are very passionate about Sicily and its unique history and culture. Relax and indulge in the beautiful Sicilian countryside as you are comfortably driven in our luxury vehicles.
The private tour takes approximately 1.5 hours, taking you behind the scenes to learn about the wine-making process. The wine estate tour will be followed by a structured private tasting that includes expert commentary on high-quality and award-winning wines made from 100% autochthonous grape varietals.
During this wonderful journey, you'll enjoy a visit to a farm where extraordinary olive oil is produced. Here we will taste the exquisite, award-winning D.O.P Iblean olive oil accompanied by homemade bread and a selection of local cheeses and cured meats.
Your door-to-door driving services can be arranged in a Mercedes Class V Vehicle for a day visiting the wineries, and your entire visit around Sicily from airport pick up to drop off. The drivers are extremely knowledgeable about the territory and make great guides on the road.
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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