Coastal Cefalu

In the afternoon we left the Donkey festival at Castlebuono and made our way,

after some frustration over directions (the signs are often quite vague and don’t give you any warning, compounding this, dad refuses to use a gps as it would spoil the adventure and also diminished the sense of accomplishment upon arrival)

to the picturesque coastal town of Cefalu. Positioned between a lofty and precipitous rock and the Tyrrhenian Sea it forms a bold headland and is one of the major tourist attractions in the region.

Like many of Sicily’s towns it dates back to the ancient greeks but the most lasting influence came in 1063 when the Normans captured it. Roger II, who ran the Norman Empire from Palermo, later began construction of the present cathedral, the premier manmade site in the town.

With its distinct austerity (compared to may of Italy’s baroque and renaissance era churches) and beautiful Byzantine mosaics, it’s no mystery as to why people are drawn to it.

As we tried to drive into the historical centre of the town, we were blocked off and directed back out towards the auto strada. That would have been fine if the one-way passage out was actually wide enough for our car!

We only JUST got out thanks to the guidance of a German tourist “Vittle bit more yahh” our car left a nice bit of paint on the corner of the building which in turn left a nice big scratch along the car (judging by the now curved corner of the wall our car certainly wasn’t the first to scrape it’s way out!)

Despite its small size, each year Celafu attracts millions of tourists (during the summer months – there were relatively few people there with us) from all parts of Sicily and also, generally, from all over Italy and Europe. From our impressions, Celafu is a town best viewed from afar – when it is at it’s most picturesque. Up close your confronted by a worn out decay and ‘tackiness’ that many overpopulated beach resorts eventually experience (think Mexico’s big beach resorts). Good for a cheap holiday and some wild parties in the summer but not what we had in mind. Hence we chose to go a bit out of town

to find a nice place to stay for the night. After much cruising and turning down dead alleys we wound up at Le Calette, well done with a great location,

it is the only hotel we are staying at during this trip as we prefer self sufficient apartments were you get a better feel for your location. That said, it was nice to have a fully functioning bathroom and supply of food at your beck and call! The best aspect for me I must admit (besides its stunning location) was the access to Internet – as you can see by the recent influx of posts and that I have finally been able to upload my recent photographs! I had a lovely time laying by the pool and working away at all that had built up over the past week.

The following morning we set off back towards Petralia Sopprana but first pulled in on nothing more than a whim at a sign saying Agriturismo, just to check it out.

We came to a grand old farm house and wandered around, looking for signs of life – eventually we found 2 men who worked on the premises. They spoke no English but luckily my meager Italian withstood the test and we found out we could have lunch there so we eagerly set up at a little table in the sun, looking out to the rolling green hills.

After some coffees we had a delicious, light antipasti

and soaked in the surrounding environment. It only cost 25 euro for 4 large bottles of water (we were quite thirsty to say the least) 3 high quality antipasti, bread and 2 coffees – it just goes to show how much they overcharge in the tourist areas! But I guess they can, in Taormina a cappuccino cost 4.60 euros and a granita was 6! Re-fuelled and quite proud of ourselves for finding such a lovely spot we headed out to the main road, bound for Petralia Sopprana – stopping from time to time to take photos

of the beautiful surroundings.

Once home (a wonderful characteristic of staying in apartments, is you always feel your returning to a homely environment) I spent the afternoon reading about India (an upcoming destination) and got SOOOOO excited, I can’t wait, but soon returned to my Italian frame of mind as we sat on the veranda overlooking the town and valley.

We drank wine, accompanied by my own take of a caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella and a pinch of pepper, all fresh local ingredients and bursting with flavour. YUM.

The sun slowly set, creating a surreal scene before our eyes

Sent inside by the chill, we then set to work on recreating a cabonara we had in Rome that blew our minds as it was such a fresh, simple and tasty take on the traditionally creamy and heavy meal. You cook some diced bacon in olive oil and then add white wine, meanwhile cooking your pasta (we bought the freshest pasta I’ve ever seen that day, it was soft in the packet and only took 2 minutes of cooking until it was al dente). You then add your al’dente pasta to the bacon, add some egg that you’ve quickly whisked up, pecorino cheese and crack some pepper ontop of it all as you mix it in together and VOILA! BELLISSIMA! It had such a light, fluffy texture and the quality of each ingredient….and just – Yum.

We ate it in our cosy apartment dining room

and had a great evening. Good wine, food, setting and company – can’t complain!


1 Comment

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One response to “Coastal Cefalu

  1. margaretbiggs

    i have just copied the pasta recipe down. sounds lovely. liked the photo of the scrape!!! love margoo xx

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