Catania Fish Market, Sicily

Catania Fish Market, Sicily

It’s Thursday night here, and all the truffles for Oliveto’s truffle dinners are still in the ground; collection begins tomorrow morning. It’s cold, there’s been a good amount of rain, and the local truffle fairs have ended. Now, the truffles are for us. Truffle Dinners at Oliveto are booking up, so we’ve decided to extend them through Saturday, November 21st. I’ll bring home more truffles than originally anticipated to last us into the weekend.

[see menu]

The second item on the agenda for this trip was to gather video of some of our Italian wine producers, and food producers, for our soon-to-launch Oliveto Wine Journal. A complementary offering to the Oliveto Community Journal and a fresh approach to wine information.

Some highlights from this trip:
My 26 hours in Catania, Sicily were exceptional. A guest of Mount Etna winemaker Ciro Biondi and his wife Stef Pollock, I was picked up as soon as the ferry docked and taken to the Catania Fish Market to follow Chef Carmelo Chiramonte as he shopped for our vineyard lunch. Carmelo is the real deal.

Standing in their vineyards you are at an altitude of 800 meters, with the sea below you, on black volcanic sand sloped at 45 degrees, and an active volcano at your back. Beautiful, exciting, and unique. While the vineyards are centuries-old, the area has only been considered a fine wine region in the last 20 years. Wild soil, wilder weather, truly exciting company, wine, and a lunch of perfectly grilled fish and vegetables — all in all, a gorgeous day.

I was able to score a ticket to the LaScala-like opera house, Teatro Bellini, built in 1890.

opera outside opera inside

The opera was Donizetti’s “The Elixer of Love.” Magnificent singing, huge chorus, lots of fun. At 9:00, I met Ciro and Stef for dinner back at the Fish Market at Osteria Antica Marina. We had wine from his first two vintages, 1999 and 2000. I asked him if he thought his wines would age well. He said he didn’t know, we’d have to wait 20 years. The 2000 was delicious.

In the morning, I flew to Torino. Alitalia lost my luggage at the stop in Rome, but recovered it 2 days later. Perhaps payback for having too good of a time in Catania.

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