Soul of Sicily's Olive Harvest - The World's First Culinary Tour to Honor Ancient Olive Trees and Celebrate Sicilian Cookery

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Soul of Sicily culinary tours and cooking programs in Noto, Siracusa will offer the world's first culinary tour in honor of the island's most ancient olive trees in the Fall of 2012 to celebrate Sicilian food and cooking with olive oil. Soul of Sicily has been a magnet for leading chefs and Italian food lovers from around the world, establishing Renée Restivo's well-earned international reputation as an authority on the cookery, culture and travel to Sicily. Renée Restivo was the TV Chef for the best-selling classic Italian cookbook, "The Silver Spoon," and has appeared on TV shows about Sicily around the world.

Soul of Sicily's founder, cooking instructor and tour creator Renée Restivo will offer an exciting customized tour in Sicily, to honor the Ancient Olive Trees in Sicily, in the heart of the Mediterranean. The Soul of Sicily Olive Harvest Week will take place during the first two weeks of October 2012. To see galleries of the Olive Harvest Trips, visit: http://www.soulofsicily.com/gallery-olivh.php

"To celebrate these ancient olive trees -- one is believed to be over 2000 years old in Noto where Soul of Sicily programs are based -- I created a special culinary tour which is the experience of a lifetime and my ultimate Sicily dream trip. The week includes cooking with olives, discussions on Sicily's Mediterranean diet, events that focus on the mythology and legends associated with the olive tree in Sicily, olive oil tastings and an exploration of Sicily's history as a part of Ancient Greece," says Soul of Sicily founder, Renée Restivo. Visit trip galleries at: http://www.soulofsicily.com/galleries.php

Soul of Sicily began offering the first olive harvest tours in Noto, Sicily in 2007, and became the first company in Sicily to do so at that time. This year, Soul of Sicily will take the trip a step further, by bringing travelers to meet the ancient olive trees on the island, including one which is believed to be up to 2000 years old and has a trunk that is larger in diameter than an SUV vehicle.

The itinerary includes visits to Siracusa and the UNESCO world heritage site, the Baroque jewel of Noto where Soul of Sicily is based. There will also be visits to connect with artisan food producers, home cooks and artists and that has been the focus of Soul of Sicily since they began tours in 2006 on the island and during Renée Restivo's 12 years of experience in culinary travel in Italy.

Price for the week long trip is $3295 per person double occupancy and there is a $500 discount off all bookings reserved before May 15th, 2012. Accomodations are at a 4-star boutique hotel in Noto, Sicily just 5 minutes from Italy's most pristine beaches and 20 minutes from the important archeological sites in Siracusa. Restivo's Soul of Sicily Olive Harvest Tour Dates are September 30th - Oct. 6th, 2012 and Oct. 7th - Oct. 13, 2012

For a limited time, Soul of Sicily is also offering $1000 off a few spots left on the Spring Lemons & Oregano tour, which takes place from April 28th to May 5th 2012. For the discount offer, bookings must be made and paid in full before April 15th. Please email renee(at)soulofsicily(dot)com to book and for details. For tour testimonials, visit Soul of Sicily's Testimonials page at: http://www.soulofsicily.com/tourtestimonials.php

For more information on the itineraries or to schedule a media interview with Renée Restivo please contact: Juliette at info(at)soulofsicily(dot)com or call 800-449-0961

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About Renée Restivo

Renée Restivo is a culinary educator with over a decade of experience creating cooking programs, culinary tours and special events in Italy. Renée is the founder of Soul of Sicily LLC, a small company of sustainable home cooking programs. Read her full bio here: http://www.soulofsicily.com/bio.php

Renée’s recent TV appearances include a Sicily episode which aired worldwide on the Travel Channel (an episode she wrote and proposed where she shares a Sicilian feast with a family of fishermen and goes night fishing in Siracusa), and spokesperson for The Silver Spoon cookbook on national TV on The Tony Danza Show. Renée Restivo's TV clips are at: http://www.youtube.com/reneerestivo

She has arranged special culinary events in Sicily, such as an event to welcome Lidia Bastianich and the James Beard Foundation’s travel group to Catania. She has been a featured speaker on Sicily at the New York Times Travel Show (2012), New York Public Library (2010) and at the Harvard Club for the New York Rotary Club (2011). She also appeared as a national radio guest, talking about Italian culinary travel for Rick Steve’s Radio Show.

She has worked as a research assistant for the late Anna Tasca Lanza, and as a consultant for several authors working on books about Sicily and Sicilian food, and she is completing research for her own book. Her essays on Sicily and cooking programs have appeared in National Geographic Traveler magazine and Travelers’ Tales books. Her letter about Sicilian home cooking was published in The New York Times.

Known for her vivacious spirit, sincere enthusiasm and curiosity to explore and unravel the mysteries of Sicily’s culinary traditions in her programs, her group culinary experiences in lesser-known parts of Italy are designed to educate travelers about disappearing food traditions and appreciation for the Italian countryside.

Renée began her career at an early age, in her 20s she worked as a cooking instructor at a 500-year-old farm in the Tuscan province of Lucca, in the middle the olive groves. She taught lessons on Italian Herbs, Italian Olive Oil, grains and Italian regional food traditions. Then, at a time when everyone was reading Under the Tuscan Sun, Renée left her “dream job” in Tuscany to explore Sicily’s ingredients and people, and she never looked back … her heart was in Sicily.

Renée has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New School University in New York, and studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Healing the Master Class of Cooking and Baking at the New School Culinary Arts Program. Her work as a recipe tester and chef for special events for the magazine La Cucina Italiana eventually led her to Italy. Today, Renée documents culinary traditions and rituals connected to the countryside and is planning a blog and many more projects.

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