A full day was ahead of us starting at the Ortigia Market, visiting Greek ruins in the city, catching a quick glance at the sea, and then a wine and food pairing at Pupillo Winery.
Ortigia Market. The Island of Ortigia is a small island that is the historical center of the city of Syracuse, Sicily. The name originates from the ancient Greek ortyx, which means “Quail”. This market was packed with fish, seasonings, fruits, vegetables, nuts, ceramics, clothes, linens, etc. The fish in these. markets is always fascinating to me. I know those fish in photo #3 are gossiping about the other fish.
I’ve never seen lard as pictured in the photo above. I guess you slice it and add it to recipes. In the Sicilian cookbook I purchased a few days ago, many of the recipes use lard as one of the ingredients. I’d never get that stuff through TSA to bring it home. 🙂 However, a nice thing that some vendors are doing now is vacuum-packing spices and nuts so people can bring home their purchases.
A walk around the town led us to these ancient Greek ruins dating back to VI century BC.
Strolling down the streets we needed to remind ourselves to look up at the beautiful artwork over doorways and under balconies. By the way, these streets were only three people wide (Jim, Antimo, & Jani). Only enough room for a Vespa. Speaking of Vespas I found another one that called my name. This one even had a small storage trunk in the back. Tempting but no.
A few more steps and we were at the ocean. Clear waters swirled around the rocks to create majestic and mesmerizing views.
A short drive to the countryside for our wine and food pairing experience.
Azienda Agricola Pupillo (Farm, Winery, and Castle). Everything about this castle property, its wine, food, delightful owners, did I mention wine? was amazing. We enjoyed Sabastiano’s (the owner) description of each wine we tasted. He explained the delicacies of using certain grapes and following the protocols of the governing bodies of Sicily. Each pairing was a delicious treat to the palate, tickling the senses as the wine preceded and followed each bite.
Photos 2 & 3 above – the stuffing is cucuzza leaves. Cucuzza is a variety of zucchini and is common in this area. The odd-looking green boob is called “Saint Agatha’s breasts” or minni di virgini “virgin’s breasts”), also known as cassatina siciliana, which is a traditional Sicilian pastry from Catania made during the Festival of Saint Agatha. These round-shaped sweets are made with sponge cake soaked in rosolio and stuffed with ricotta, chocolate drops, and candied fruit. The outside is covered in icing (similar to marzipan) and finished with a candied cherry on top. It is very sweet.
We ate, we drank, and now we walk. Sebastiano gave us a tour of the property and shared family stories that were delightful. Even the trees on the property had interesting backgrounds. The Falso Kapok tree had huge thorns on the trunk and the Australian Fig tree has roots that look medieval and straight out of a science fiction movie.
The winery side of the property is shared in the history of this ancient property. Sabastiano explained how grapes would be dumped into the vats above him and people would stand in them arm in arm (to prevent slipping) and crush the grapes with their feet (a real Lucy moment). The juice would then drip down through the spout (photo #2) into a cement storage tank below. Today they use modern crushers and steel tanks to hold the squeezings until bottling.
Back at the villa after a short rest, we sipped more wine purchased from Pupillo today. Antimo put his culinary talents to work in the kitchen making us a light mushroom, tomato, olive, and tuna pasta. Yum!
Another beautiful night on the penthouse terrace. Say good night Dick.