Sicilian Journey... seductive foods & ancient wonders

Vibrant open air market in Palermo.

Sicilian Journey... seductive foods & ancient wonders
Sicily, Italy

16 -23 May 2020
8 days and 7 nights

Join me on a food and wine tour in Sicily, a gorgeous island anchored in the crossroads of the Mediterranean that seduces travelers with its dazzling diversity of landscapes and culinary treasures. For almost three thousand years, Sicily was invaded by such powerful civilizations as the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French, and Spanish, all of whom left their lasting mark on its art, architecture and cuisine.

We begin our Sicilian adventure in the island’s western-most port town of Trapani, bounded by two seas and snuggled at the foot of Mount Erice. You’ll enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful sunsets with an aperitivo here on the portico. Trapani's unique position on the sea route to the Mediterranean busiest ports makes it the perfect place to taste the soul of Sicily’s distinctive cuisine. With our hands-on classes, you’ll learn to make traditional Sicilian dishes just like nonna.

You’ll meet charming artisans who produce Sicily’s unique salt, cheese, olive oil, and wine. A hands-on class at a famed pastry shop will show us the secrets of Sicilian desserts plus we’ll visit the local fish market and butcher, and savor a traditional Sicilian barbeque overlooking the ancient Greek temple of Segesta.

We’ll spend two days in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, one of the worlds’ most multi-cultural and fascinating cities. Here we’ll focus on authentic traditional cuisine rather than haute cuisine, exploring the city’s ancient food market, sampling street food from market stalls to taste the cornucopia of sun-ripened vegetables and fruits grown in volcanic soils for more intense flavor, and enjoy the freshest seafood in the Mediterranean.

No place on earth offers such a bounty of food rooted in only serving what is fresh. I hope you can join me at the table as we relish this well balanced and extremely flavorful cuisine!

‘To have seen Italy without seeing Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all – for Sicily is the key to everything’- Goethe


Day 1 Arrive in Sicily, Italy
Benvenuti! Arrive at Palermo airport where you’ll be met by our driver. Enjoy an hour scenic ride along the sea and around the mountains to Giardini Mon Plaisir in Trapani. If you arrive before the 4:00 p.m. check-in time they will store your bags for you.
Afternoon: Free time before dinner to relax or explore Trapani; there's plenty to see.
Predinner: We will meet in the lounge on the ground floor. The merriment begins with aperitivos to toast the beginning of our Sicilian trip!
Dinner: Welcome dinner at a fine restaurant in beautiful old Trapani.

Day 2 Trapani – A day in the countryside.
Breakfast: An epicurean delight in the villa dining room.
Morning: We will be leaving early in the morning in order to meet an artisan cheesemaker who continues the cheese making traditions of Sicily and learn how they produce their farmstead sheep’s milk cheese. Our next stop will be at one of the top boutique wineries to learn about the unique grapes of this region.
Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Sicilian lunch at the winery paired with their exquisite wines.
Afternoon: For our last adventure of the day, we drive to a small family organic olive oil producer at the base of Mount Erice to learn about the production of their award-winning extra virgin olive oils.
Dinner: We’ll meet Julie in the kitchen for our first hands-on cooking class with Mr. Spagnolo one of the best butchers in the area, to teach us how to prepare a couple of the local meat dishes. We’ll enjoy the fruits of our labors at dinner with local wines.

Day 3 Trapani – The most famous Cuscusu
Breakfast: An epicurean delight in the villa dining room.
Morning: We head off to Trapani’s old town to tour the fish market with Chef Pino. At his Slow Food restaurant Cantina Siciliana, Pino will teach us how to make the classic Trapanese Cuscusu (couscous).
Lunch: Trapanese Cuscusu at the cantina.
Afternoon: A hands-on cooking class with Julie at our villa.
Dinner: Sicilian menu of the cooking class including wine.

Day 4 Trapani – On the water
Breakfast: An epicurean delight in the villa dining room.
Morning: We will travel to the Salt Road (la Via del Sale) where salt has been produced for centuries to see the salt pools where they harvest sea salt.
Lunch: Lunch will be enjoyed beside the most unbelievably blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Afternoon: Boat ride on the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea
Dinner: Hands-on cooking class at the villa with Julie. Dinner is based on the class menu.

Day 5 Trapani-Erice
Breakfast: An epicurean delight in the villa dining room.
Morning: We will take a cable car to the charming medieval hill town of Erice, one of the most beautiful towns in Italy; and will meet up with chef Maria Grammatico at her pastry shop. We will have a cooking class and learn about her traditional pastries.
Lunch: We will have lunch at a fine restaurant in Erice.
Afternoon: Free time. You can explore the Norman Castle, also referred to as the Venus Castle because it is built on top of the ancient temple of Venus
Dinner: This evening we will dine at a restaurant in Trapani.
Evening: Prepare for check-out in the morning and transfer to Palermo.

Day 6 Trapani - Segesta - Palermo
Breakfast: An epicurean delight in the villa dining room.
Morning: After check out, on our way to Palermo we’ll visit the ancient city of Segesta. There we will walk to the two sites: the Doric temple and Greek theater. It’s a beautiful setting with stunning views and you’re surrounded by ancient relics.
Lunch: As we make our way to Palermo, we will stop at the seaside town of Balestrate for lunch.
Dinner: Walking food tour to discover the nightlife in Palermo.

Day 7 Palermo
Breakfast: At the hotel
Morning to the afternoon: Tour the food market and hands-on cooking class in the beautifully restored Pallazzo with the Duchess.
Dinner: Tonight we enjoy our final dinner at a local restaurant.
Evening: Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

Day 8 Arrivederci
Breakfast: On our final day, enjoy breakfast at the hotel before check-out. Hotel buffet available from 7:00 a.m.
Activity: Hotel check-out by 12:00 p.m.
Morning: Transportation to Palermo Airport is provided. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful journey. I hope you enjoy Cooking with Julie’s adventures and look forward to having you on another experience.

Week-long immersion in Sicily’s unique food traditions, including the island’s distinctive extra-virgin olive oils, wines, and local cheeses.
• Journey through the markets of Palermo and Trapani. Sicilian markets are as authentic as they come, there's no perfectly arranged produce only just ripened and delicious.
• Taste mineral-tinged sea salt from the source at Trapani’s salt pools
• We explore one of the small islands just off the coast surrounded by the most beautiful blue and clear water you can imagine.
• Understand the importance of pristine ingredients with visits to a fish market, and artisan butcher, and cheesemaker
• Step back in time with guided tours of ancient cities of Trapani, Palermo, and the medieval hilltop town of Erice,
• Indulge in Sicily’s fondness for sweets with a hands-on class at the famed La Pasticceria Maria Grammatico.
• Unlock the secrets of Sicilian cuisine through hands-on cooking classes with Julie at the villa
• Savor the magic of Sicily’s fertile soil and long, cloudless summers with exclusive winery tours and tastings pair with lunch
• Includes 7 nights’ accommodations, with en suite bathroom. Accommodations are in a downtown boutique hotel for Palermo and a historic villa in Trapani.
• Includes all meals (including local wine), travel services with the tour itinerary, service charges and VAT, transportation is provided for you to and from Palermo Airport.

$4500 Price per person based on double occupancy
$5000 Price for a single room
Prices include accommodations, three meals per day, all cooking instruction, tours, tastings, and ground transportation during the program. Airfare is not included. Prices subject to change without notice.

Deposits and Payment Information
A $1,500 deposit per person is required to reserve your space. Your deposit will be refunded if the minimum of 6 guests is not reached. The deadline to sign up is

To reserve your spot contact Julie for the reservation form--fill it out, and return it to Julie along with your deposit to 1039 La Quinta Ct., Napa, California 94559.

8 days of la dolce vita is limited to 10 guests.

Email or call Julie at 707.227.5036.

Please note: accommodations for special food needs may not be possible. Due to the nature this trip, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.


Please contact Julie@cookingwithJulie for accommodation information.

Transportation & Transfers: Airfare is not included. Transfer from and to the Palermo Airport is included.

This is an experience you don’t want to miss. Share it with someone special to create a memory of a lifetime.

Passports & Visas
A valid passport is required of all participants. It must be valid at least 3 months after the date of return to the U.S. The name on your reservation must match the name on your passport. Non-U.S. citizens must consult with the appropriate consulates to determine if any visas are needed.
It is suggested that all passengers, regardless of the passport they hold, check with the appropriate consulates of the countries being visited to determine if any visas are needed.