11 days until 16 of us are off to the beautiful Italian region of Puglia! I love Italy and consider it my second home.

Last year however,  after researching Sicily for our newest tour,  I joined my Tour partners at Maxima Tours/Exclusively Malta on their “Jewels of the Mediteranean” Tour for 10 days. Myself and 2 of my students toured Malta and Gozo with a small group of fellow North Americans. I was pleasantly surprised with Malta as I knew nothing about the islands or the culture. With such a diverse history, the people are a blend of a number of cultures and therefore the food culture is a good reflection of their history. I saw influences from the Sicilians, but also, the British and the Arabs. With a perfect blend of history and food, along with the beautiful scenery it seemed like the perfect partner for Sicily, only 90 kilometres away.

We enjoyed delicious bread….comparable to some of the best I have had in Italy (shhhh, don’t tell the Italians I said that!). The olive oil is of a very good quality and to be expected as the geography is somewhat similar to Sicily.  They have their own versions of Italian Classics such as Caponata (Kapunata), Lemon Granita (Granita-Tal-Lumi), Zeppoli di San Giuseppe (Sfineg Ta San Guzepp/Zeppole), Stuffed Eggplant (Brungiel Mimli), and on and on…The delicious treat pictured is Pastizzi; pastry stuffed with ricotta cheese or mashed peas.  The wonderful seafood dishes are also delicious and to be expected on a Mediterranean Island (my favorite…fish soup; Aljotta). There are plenty of beautiful fruits and vegetables as well.

Another take on an Italian Classic is Ftira, somewhat like pizza. It is a bread dough base with numerous toppings such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives,potatoes, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil.  I am making it today for the first time to serve to our guests tonight at the “Meet & Greet” for our first Sicily & Malta Tour, taking place from October 10-21, 2017.  (Registered Guests Only) The tour Sold Out so quickly we have added a second tour from October 21 to November 1, 2017. As of today, we still have 8 places left!  Information here…..www.italiancookingschoolguelph.com/sicily-malta-food-tour 

Of course the tour is Malta AND Sicily, so another Blog post will sing the charms of Sicily……

Ciao for now, Natalina xo

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