Kiki Deere moves on to the most delicious part of her wedding planning - the tastings!
Now for the best part of organising a wedding (for me, anyway): food and wine tasting!
Being a true foodie, top-notch food and wine are one of the main reasons we decided to host our wedding in Italy. Sicily is renowned for being one of Italy’s culinary hotspots – this is the land of lemons, swordfish, capers, tuna, couscous and, of course, cannoli, a delectable Sicilian dessert of tube-shaped shells with a sweet ricotta filling.
Over the centuries, trade and conquest have resulted in a hotchpotch of culinary influences. The Phoenicians settled here, the Greeks and Romans colonised the island, later followed by the Arabs who are said to have introduced rice; arancini, stuffed rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella, peas and ragù (bolognaise sauce) are probably Sicily’s most famous snack.
My fiancé and I sat on the panoramic terrace of our venue, the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, ready for our feast, yet both slightly nervous, knowing that next time we would be sitting here would be on our wedding day.
A plethora of dishes flowed to our table: swordfish pie, risotto with scallops, tuna coated with poppy seeds.. It was hard to decide. Given our proximity to the sea, fish and seafood inevitably feature in most courses (we have six!)
We chose a local wine grown on the graceful slopes of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano, which is visible from the hotel. What can beat sipping a first-rate Etna wine produced just a few kilometres away from the dining table? The fertile soil of the volcano makes it ideal for cultivating grapes, along with almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios, all of which are present in Sicilian cuisine (almond wine is even produced on the island).
Our Sicilian feast won’t finish with our wedding cake though. To round off the festivities, the day after the wedding we are having a Sicilian buffet lunch by the beach at the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo’s sister hotel, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea - a table overflowing with fried fish, homemade pasta with tomatoes, basil and almonds, and stewed vegetable compote, to name a few. A weekend of wine and food indulgence awaits!
Kiki Deere is a travel writer raised bilingually in London and Turin who writes regularly about all things Italy for a number of travel publications including the Rough Guides and UK broadsheets. Follow Kiki on Twitter here.