Ricotta cheese has played an important role in Italian food for hundreds of years and tradition says that it originated in Sicily from where its popularity spread throughout Italy. If you visit Sicily you're sure to eat Ricotta cheese many times during your stay. Fresh breakfast pastries are filled with this sweet luscious filling and make the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee, there are the ricotta filled desserts including the famous Sicilian cannoli and cassata and you're sure to eat some pasta dishes with a soft, creamy ricotta sauce.
We visited an artisan cheesemaker in the province of Trapani in Western Sicily with one of our Harvest Tour groups and experienced the art of ricotta cheese making.
In the culinary world ricotta is not classed as a cheese but more of a creamy curd which is often a by product of another Sicilian cheese such as Pecorino. The word ricotta comes from the Latin word which means cooked twice. It is made from the whey, the watery liquid left over after another cheese has been made. The whey is heated again with rennet and the curds that have risen to the surface are scooped into a container, drained and prepared for aging.
It's not a complicated process, one that you can even do at home, but the Cucchiara family, with 5 generations of cheesemakers, have perfected the art of perfect ricotta. Believe me ... we got to taste it! We even got to visit the sheep which are hand milked every morning and Vitina got to try her hand at milking one of them! This photo below shows one of our tour guests petting a baby lamb.
We had so much fun on our tour in Sicily, we always take our guests off the beaten tourist path so that you can experience the real Sicily. We'd love you to come with us. If you'd like to find out more:
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Check out the video below to get a taste of Sicily.
If you love true Extra Virgin Olive Oil, experiencing the olive harvest in Sicily and tasting the oil straight from the press, is a must for your bucket list. From handpicking the olives in the morning ... to drinking the freshly pressed olive oil in the same afternoon, it's an experience you'll never forget.
You will learn all the steps of growing, picking and pressing olives and you'll know what to look for in taste, acidity, color and texture of an olive oil and how to pair your olive oil with food.
Come to Sicily with us. Click to download our 2019 itinerary.
Perhaps this question is asked so often due to the history of conquests of the island. Here is a brief history of the Mediterranean Island that became part of Italy during the unification in 1861 and today is one of Italy's five autonomous regions.
Do you have Sicilian ancestry? Come to Sicily with us?
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Small group touring is the best! We started Papa Vince Harvest Tours a few years ago with a selection of our customers who wanted to combine a true Sicilian vacation with the olive harvest at our family orchards in Santa Ninfa.
Stefano & Vitina Feo, the friendly faces of Papa Vince USA will be your personal tour leaders. With family roots in Sicily and a deep personal love of the island, they are passionate about giving you the most unforgettable vacation experience. After one Papa Vince Harvest Tour, you are sure to want to return … and to convince your friends to come with you!