Today's feature contributor, award-winning writer and food educator Renée Restivo, shares the story of reclaiming her Sicilian roots and reveals food as a window to myriad layers of Sicilian heritage. Then, Chris Mark of slow-travel masters, Butterfield & Robinson, shares how to pedal and walk the best of Sicily's storied parched landscapes. Listen in...
(Feature: Hunger for Sicily 00:49; Interview: Soul of Sicily's Renée Restivo 11:40; Interview: Butterfield & Robinson's Chris Mark 32:25)
Award-winning writer, food entrepreneur, Renée Restivo on food, family roots and Sicilian culture
Renée Restivo is an award-winning writer, culinary educator, and founder and director of the Soul of Sicily culinary programs. She has over fifteen years of experience in culinary education in Italy. Renée got her start in New York, where she managed cooking classes and tested recipes for La Cucina Italiana magazine.
Her life in Italy began when she moved to Tuscany to work at cooking school and to become fluent in Italian before starting her own business. While living in Northern Italy, she traveled to Sicily whenever possible and continued her search for her roots through food. She fell in love with the island of her ancestors and worked in exclusive villas in Palermo and on vineyards in the middle of the island before beginning her own programs in the Southeastern Sicily.
Soul of Sicily programs are located in Noto, Sicily, a baroque town surrounded by ancient olive groves and known for its almonds, pastries and culinary traditions. As the late Marcella Hazan said of Renée's culinary programs in Noto, Sicily: “Noto alone is worth the flight to Sicily. What Renée has dreamed up is irresistible and should be as eye-opening as palate-awakening. No one who is able to go and loves food should miss it."
Chris Mark — Butterfield & Robinson's director of trip planning for Italy and central Europe talks biking and walking in Sicily
After biking 10,000 km across Europe, then working his way up to the head of Butterfield & Robinson’s planning and operations department, Chris Mark is now the go-to resource for all aspects of B&R’s European operation, especially in Italy and central Europe. From route questions to restaurant recommendations, no one else can match the breadth or depth of his trip knowledge. Chris kindly gives Native Traveler the benefit of his remarkable insight on the best of biking and walking in Sicily.