The Tree and Vine Culinary Tour 2017 - A Gourmet Getaway To Sicily

Gourmet Getaway to Sicily
The Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2017

Dates: September 18 - 26, 2017

Group Size: 14 people

Join us on this gourmet adventure through Sicily’s quaintest fishing villages, fabled olive groves and beautifully Baroque towns. Together we will celebrate the island’s ancient wine heritage while sipping crisp Catarratto and velvety Nero d’Avola, before experiencing the true essence of an elegant Marsala DOC. We will discover the exquisite Extra Virgin Olive oils and sublime seafood bounty that make the Mediterranean’s largest island such a culinary paradise. We’ll roll up our sleeves to uncover the secrets of Sicilian pastry making before sampling the age-old recipe for authentic Modica chocolate, and we’ll savor the joy of the Sicilian kitchen while learning to prepare typical dishes on a storied country estate. From the island tradition of the Tonnara to the timeless temples of Agrigento, we’ll delve into Sicily’s rich cultural history as we venture to breathtaking Baroque towns and Norman palaces, and delight in the epicurean intrigue of Palermo’s most colorful food markets. This gourmet tour has been designed exclusively for The Tree & Vine by our travel partner, CountryBred.


Day 1 - September 18, 2017
Arrival to Palermo

We will begin our gourmet getaway through Sicily by arriving at Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport where the CountryBred Tour Manager will be waiting to welcome everyone as they arrive. Once all participants have arrived, we will set off for the coastal wine country surrounding Trapani. We’ll check-in to our 17th century hamlet turned sophisticated four-star wine country estate, Baglio Soria, owned by the esteemed Firriato winemaking dynasty, and settle-in with free time to relax after our journey. In the afternoon we’ll toast to the start of our epicurean adventure with an exclusive, expert-led vertical wine tasting of Firriato’s most prized vintages, usually reserved only for technical tastings and wine industry buyers. Afterward, we will savor a chef’s tasting menu inspired by the coastal flavors of Sicily and the Trapani province, at Baglio Soria’s renowned gourmet restaurant. (Overnight: Trapani / Meals: D)

Day 2 - September 19, 2017
Island of Favignana & Marsala

In the morning we will set off to experience the rugged beauty and unique viticulture of the enchanting island of Favignana, part of the Aegadian Islands. We’ll embark on a scenic hydrofoil ride across crystalline waters before reaching Favignana for a special visit to the Firriato vineyards of Calamoni di Favignana, the only vineyards located on the Aegadian islands. Following our visit, we will return to Trapani by hydrofoil and depart for the hillsides above Marsala to enjoy lunch at an acclaimed gourmet restaurant owned by a chef who has been voted one of Sicily’s most brilliant culinary talents. After lunch we will travel to the estate of one of Marsala’s premier winemaking families who are dedicated to the preservation of the region’s ancient varietals and authentic traditions for producing high quality Marsala Superiore and Grillo wines. We’ll learn about the depth and complexity of fine Marsala, before enjoying a private tasting of the producer’s stellar wines. From the vineyards, we will next visit the fabled wine town of Marsala for free time to discover its antique center of quaint wine taverns, boutique shops, and charming eateries, before returning to our hotel for the evening. (Overnight: Trapani / Meals: B, L)

Day 3 - September 20, 2017
Erice & Trapani

Today we will be immersed into the authentic traditions of Sicilian pastry making, from pasta di mandorla (almond cookies) to the famed cannolo, as we will roll up our sleeves for a master class with one of Sicily’s foremost experts on pastry. Our class will culminate with a lunch of rustic Sicilian fare inspired by what is in season, before being crowned with the sweet indulgence of our freshly made desserts. After lunch, we’ll discover the ancient hilltop village of Erice on a private walking tour along its quaint cobblestone streets characterized by narrow passageways, period architecture, and artisan purveyors of local food products. Next, we’ll set off for the heart of historic Trapani to admire the city’s Baroque center adorned by 15th century churches and noble palazzos, during a guided walking tour. In the evening we will savor quintessential Trapanese seafood specialties at a chic osteria before returning to our hotel for the evening. (Overnight: Trapani / Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4 - September 21, 2017
Menfi, Sciacca & Agrigento

Our culinary adventure through Sicily will continue as we check-out of Baglio Soria and depart for the olive grove laden hills surrounding the town of Menfi. We’ll arrive at the estate of one of Sicily’s most preeminent olive oil producers, a family who has dedicated their lives to crafting a superior Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. We’ll embark on an owner-led visit of the property’s mill to learn about their high quality olive oil production before tasting the estate’s premium extra virgin olive oils along with other gourmet
condiments. When our visit concludes, we will depart for the lively coastal town of Sciacca to dine at an acclaimed Slow Food designated restaurant whose refined menu showcases seasonal offerings from local producers. In the afternoon, we’ll travel to the awe-inspiring Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, where our local archaeology expert will lead us on an intriguing tour of this incredible UNESCO designated archaeology site, dating back to the 5th century BC. We’ll explore the site’s majestic Doric temples, such as the astonishingly well preserved Temple of Concordia and remains of the Temple of Heracles, as we learn about the ancient city’s prominence in Magna Graecia. From the golden temples of Agrigento, we will depart for the Baroque splendor of Ragusa Superiore, the city’s upper town, for check-in to our opulent five-star hotel, Antica Badia Relais, housed within a former 18th century palace. Afterward, we’ll have a free evening to settle in and begin discovering Ragusa at our own pace.
(Overnight: Ragusa / Meals: B, L)

Day 5 - September 22, 2017
Ragusa Ibla & Modica

This morning we will depart for Ragusa’s UNESCO designated Ragusa Ibla, the oldest part of the city, where our local expert will guide us on a private walking tour of the old town’s breathtaking Baroque and Gothic architecture, best preserved in the timeless palaces and churches that line its scenic streets. Along the way we’ll experience glorious Piazza Duomo and the 18th century Duomo di San Giorgio, before visiting the tranquil Giardini Iblei (Hyblean Gardens). Next, we will be transported to the estate of an
organic herb farm for an expert led overview of Sicilian herb cultivation, before savoring a farm to table lunch featuring produce fresh from the garden. After lunch we will travel to the Baroque grandeur of Modica with its resplendent swirl of buildings designed in the Sicilian Baroque style. We’ll be introduced to the town’s legendary chocolate making traditions with a visit to Modica’s most esteemed chocolatier for a special behind the scenes look at their artisanal chocolate making practices. We will next be invited into the home of a local food expert to enjoy a hands-on workshop of chocolate making that will culminate in a tasting of local confections. From Modica we will return to our hotel for free time to freshen up before dinner at one of Sicily’s most acclaimed restaurants, awarded two-Michelin stars for its contemporary perspective on traditional Sicilian flavors. After dinner we will be transported back to our hotel for the night.
(Overnight: Ragusa / Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6 - September 23, 2017
Noto & Noto Wine Country

Today we will be transported to Noto, the capital city of Sicilian Baroque, to enjoy a guided visit of its UNESCO World Heritage center. Along the way we will experience the town’s recently restored Duomo and main avenue, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, showcasing glorious 18th century Sicilian Baroque architecture and punctuated by opulent noble palaces and magnificent churches. From Noto we will travel to one of the area’s most premier wine estates, nestled in the surrounding countryside. During our
visit we’ll delight in a private winery tour followed by a tasting of the producer’s elegant Nero D’Avola vintages, before enjoying a lovely picnic lunch beneath the estate’s sprawling carob trees. In the afternoon we will be transported from wine country to a nearby fishing village known for its exceptional tuna fish. Our guided visit of the town will begin at the old port to learn about its illustrious “tonnara” fishing tradition, before sampling seaside specialties like bottarga (cured tuna roe), red tuna, and local preserves. When our tasting concludes, we will return to our hotel in Ragusa for the evening. (Overnight: Ragusa / Meals: B, L)

Day 7 - September 24, 2017
Sclafani Bagni & Palermo

In the morning we will check-out and bid farewell to Ragusa before departing for the wine country of Sclafani Bagni in the province of Palermo. We will arrive at the “feudo” (farmhouse) of one of Sicily’s most illustrious winemaking families, the Tasca D’Almerita, where we’ll roll up our sleeves for a hands-on cooking class of traditional Sicilian cuisine under the tutelage of a local food expert. Our class will culminate with a country inspired lunch of our own delectable creations. Afterward, we will set off for the vibrant city of Palermo, capital of Sicily, for check-in to our 19th century palazzo turned five-star hotel, Grand Hotel Wagner, nestled in the very center of the city. In the evening we will experience the authentic Sicilian tradition of the Opera dei Pupi (Sicilian puppet theater) with a special evening performance at the whimsical venue of a third generation master puppeteer. For dinner we’ll savor a meal of classic Palermitano fare at a quaint trattoria beloved by the locals, before being transported back to our hotel for the evening. (Overnight: Palermo / Meals: B, L, D)

Day 8 - September 25, 2017
Palermo & Cefalu

Our gastronomic journey through Sicily will continue as we set-off with our local expert for a morning visit of Palermo’s lively Ballaro Market. A kaleidoscope of flavors made possible by local growers, fishmongers, and specialty food purveyors, the Ballaro market is at the heart of Palermo’s vibrant kitchen. Next, we will visit the 10th century Palazzo Dei Normanni, once home to the Sicilian kings, where we will experience its Arab-Norman-Byzantine architecture and precious interiors housing dazzling UNESCO
designated Byzantine mosaics. Our walking tour will continue with a visit to Palermo’s Cathedral dating back to the 12th century and featuring over 500 years of different architectural styles. From Palermo’s classical marvels, we will depart for the ancient coastal charms of Cefalu. We’ll savor a lunch of fresh fish and seafood at a picturesque eatery overlooking the sea, before embarking on an afternoon guided exploration of Cefalu’s antique fishing port and atmospheric town center characterized by historic
buildings and charming cobblestone streets. In the late afternoon, we will return to our hotel in Palermo for some free time to relax and get ready for our special dinner. In the evening we will be welcomed into the sumptuous palazzo of a Sicilian countess for an exclusive private dinner hosted within the opulent interiors of the noble family’s ancestral home. When dinner has ended, we’ll return to our hotel for a free evening to prepare for tomorrow’s departure. (Overnight: Palermo / Meals: B, L, D)

Day 9 - September 26, 2017
Group Departure to Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport

This morning we’ll get an early start as we check-out of the hotel and depart Palermo for Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport, in preparation for our return flights home.
(Meals: B)


  • 8 nights at deluxe accommodations, including four-star Baglio Soria in Trapani, five-star Relais Antica Badia in Ragusa & Grand Hotel Wagner in Palermo
  • Private group transfer by bus to and from Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport for arrival and departure, at designated times
  • Private, air-conditioned bus for all intercity travel, excursions & touring
  • Full-time CountryBred Tour Leader & select touring with local guides and culinary experts
  • 12 regionally inspired meals showcasing local food products and specialty ingredients
  • Exclusive gourmet visits to artisan producers of Extra Virgin olive oil, wild herbs, tuna bottarga & chocolate, with tastings
  • Exclusive winery visits & tastings in Trapani, Marsala DOC & Noto wine countries
  • Scenic boat ride to Island of Favignana
  • Privately guided walking tour of historic centers of Erice & Trapani
  • Hands-on Sicilian pastry making workshop
  • Archaeologist-led walking tour of Agrigento’s ancient Valley of the Temples
  • Traditional Modica chocolate making workshop
  • Privately guided architectural tour of UNESCO designated Sicilian Baroque towns of Ragusa, Modica & Noto
  • Hands-on cooking class of regional Sicilian cuisine led by acclaimed food expert
  • Sicilian Opera dei Pupi (puppet theater) performance in Palermo
  • Guided visit of vibrant Ballaro Market in Palermo
  • Privately guided walking tour of Palermo’s historic center, including visits of the city’s 10th century Palazzo dei Normanni & 12th century Cathedral
  • Privately guided walking tour of ancient fishing village of Cefalu
  • Exclusive dining experience hosted within the private palazzo of a Sicilian countess

Pricing is $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy*
Single Traveler Supplement: $800
*Prices subject to change


  • 8 nights at deluxe accommodations, including four-star Baglio Soria in Trapani Wine Country, five-star Antica Badia Relais in Ragusa & five-star Grand Hotel Wagner in Palermo
  • Group bus transfer from Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport to Trapani Wine Country upon arrival, at designated time
  • Group bus transfer from Palermo City Center to Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport for departure, at designated time
  • Private, air-conditioned bus for all intercity travel, excursions & touring
  • The full-time assistance of a CountryBred Tour Leader & select touring with local guides and culinary experts
  • A representative from The Tree & Vine on tour
  • Signature activities and all associated tickets/entrance fees, as indicated in the tour itinerary
  • Daily breakfasts
  • 7 regionally inspired lunches
  • 5 gourmand dinners
  • Traveler Welcome Package in advance of departure
  • Welcome wine tasting of premium Firriato reserve vintages at Baglio Soria
  • Exclusive vineyard visit on the island of Favignana
  • Private winery tour & tasting in Marsala DOCG wine country
  • Hands-on Sicilian pastry making class with renowned pastry expert
  • Privately guided walking tour of medieval hilltop town of Erice & Baroque center of Trapani
  • Olive oil mill visit & tasting of estate bottled extra virgin olive oils at acclaimed producer in Menfi
  • Archeologist-led walking tour of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
  • Privately guided walking tour of Ragusa Ibla
  • Visit to herb farm to learn about Sicilian herb cultivation with farm to table lunch
  • Visit of historic chocolate shop for behind the scenes look at chocolate laboratory
  • Traditional chocolate making workshop & tasting in home of local food expert
  • Private walking tour of Noto’s UNESCO designated Sicilian Baroque center
  • Private winery tour & tasting of premium Nero D’Avola wines with al fresco picnic lunch in Noto wine country
  • Privately guided tour of typical Sicilian fishing village with tasting of local red tuna products
  • Exclusive cooking class of signature Sicilian dishes at Tasca D’Almerita country estate
  • Traditional Sicilian puppet theater experience in Palermo
  • Privately guided tour of Palermo including visits to Ballaro Market, Palazzo dei Normanni & the Cathedral
  • Private walking tour of ancient seaside village of Cefalu


  • International or regional airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages, wines or a-la-carte food orders outside of pre-arranged menus during organized meals
  • Any meals or beverages during free time
  • Hotel incidentals including room service, laundry services and hotel bar tabs
  • Hotel room upgrade requests and/or fees/supplements incurred from any room changes
  • Personal expenditures and personal spending money
  • Expenses for activities/excursions not included in the tour itinerary
  • Transportation expenses incurred during free time, such as taxi or bus fares
  • Travel insurance including health, accidents, lost baggage and trip cancellation
  • Passport and Visa expenses
  • All other items that are not mentioned or included in the tour itinerary


  • Baglio Soria
  • Relais Antica Badia
  • Hotel Wagner


Travel Insurance
Optional travel insurance is available to provide peace of mind during your travels in the event of accident, sickness or unexpected cancellation. In evaluating travel insurance options you may want to review all forms of insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, such as your credit card or medical and homeowner’s insurance company benefits, in addition to other third party insurance providers. Trip insurance can also be purchased through CountryBred’s preferred providers Travel Guard® and Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. If you are interested in obtaining a quote or purchasing a policy, you can contact CountryBred at 1-800-615-3543 or email us at

A Note About Airfare
We live in an exciting time for travel where there are many resources available for booking airfare. As such, we encourage you to explore your options, such as booking your airfare through a trusted ticketing agent, an online airline resource or using your frequent flier miles or credit card rewards points. As you research your preferred flight, you will want to look for routes that depart from your local airport to Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport in Palermo, Italy, as this will be the group arrival and departure point for the tour.

Choosing Your Flights

For Arrival
It is strongly recommended that you arrive the day prior to the commencement of the tour, to allow for any delays or re-routing that may occur while in transit to Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport. After reserving your spot on the tour, a list of recommended hotels located within close proximity to the airport can be provided for your convenience, upon request. If you choose to arrive at Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport on the actual start date of the tour, you will need to book a flight that arrives at the airport no later than 2:00 PM on September 18, 2017.

For Departure
You will need to book a departing flight from Palermo Giovanni Falcone Airport no earlier than 11:00 AM on September 26, 2017, the end date of the tour.

Luggage Allowance
Each tour participant is allowed a total of one medium sized suitcase (25” to 27” inches) and one carry-on. Please note that this luggage allowance will be strictly enforced, as the size of the tour vehicle will only accommodate a specific amount of luggage.

Organized Meals
This tour includes seven lunches and five dinners that are designed to celebrate the regional culinary traditions, seasonal produce, and local food products that make Sicily such a diverse gastronomic destination. During the tour you will enjoy a large variety of gourmet foods and typical dishes, intended to delve deep into the authentic food landscapes we will be exploring. This means that you will be sampling regional delicacies that highlight such ingredients as fish and seafood, like tuna, sardines, swordfish, shellfish, and octopus, fruits and vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, lemons, oranges, olives and garlic, specialty cured meats, sausages, cheeses made from goat and sheep’s milk, and dishes made with capers, raisins, rice, eggs, flour, sugar, dairy, nuts like almonds and pistachios, chocolate, and honey. As the menus for each organized lunch and dinner are planned in advance, it is important that you advise The Tree & Vine and CountryBred of any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions you may have, so that we can do our very best to meet your needs.

Physical Considerations
This tour may at times be physically active and interactive, so you must be in good health to participate. If you have any physical, mental, visual, or other medical impairment that may hinder your ability to successfully complete this CountryBred small group tour, you must submit a letter from your physician stating that you are able to safely participate in the tour at least 90 days prior to departure. CountryBred reserves the right to decline any Participant whose condition, in CountryBred’s opinion, may negatively affect the health or safety of that Participant, other Participants, our staff/agents, or third parties.

Your Traveler Welcome Package
Your Traveler Welcome Package will include a hard copy of the final, detailed tour itinerary, as well as other supplemental travel information pertaining to weather, Emergency contact information, local dining recommendations for free time, etc. Your Traveler Welcome Package will be mailed out to arrive prior to your departure on the tour.

Changes to the Tour Itinerary
CountryBred has designed this exclusive gourmet tour for The Tree & Vine, incorporating the very best gastronomic experiences that Sicily has to offer. As this tour has been specially crafted to take you off the beaten path and introduce you to authentic local gastronomy and experiences, it may require that necessary adjustments be made to the tour schedule either prior to departure or during the tour. Rest assured, we will make every effort to provide you with the touring experience outlined in the itinerary. Please be advised that we cannot provide refunds for any touring days, activities, excursions, tastings, etc., that you have chosen not to participate in, or any costs associated with opting out of a planned activity or excursion (i.e. taxi or bus fare).

To reserve your spot on this exclusive trip for The Tree & Vine, please refer to the following steps. The group size for this tour is 14 people.

Step 1:
Please contact Paul Karlsson of The Tree & Vine at or 828-505-4040 (Asheville) or 865-985-0524 (Knoxville), to make arrangements for submitting your trip deposit. A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost ($2,497.50/per person) will be required as the first step in reserving your spot on the trip.

Step 2:
After your trip deposit has been submitted to Paul at The Tree & Vine, you will need to complete and submit CountryBred’s online Group Traveler Agreement Form. You can fill out and submit the form by visiting CountryBred’s Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2017 page at, or you can find the online Group Traveler Agreement Form at the following address:

Once your trip deposit and Group Traveler Agreement Form have been received, your spot will be reserved on the trip. Should you have any additional questions regarding your reservation and the submittal of your deposit to The Tree & Vine, please contact Paul Karlsson at or 828-505-4040 (Asheville) or 865-985-0524 (Knoxville). Should you have any questions regarding the submittal of your online Group Traveler Agreement Form, you can contact CountryBred at or 1-800-615-3543.

Trip Balance Payment
Trip balance is due to Paul Karlsson of The Tree & Vine by no later than July 7th, 2017 (approximately 60 days prior to tour departure).

Payments may be made by MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or by check made payable to The Tree & Vine.

If you cancel before April 28th, 2017: You will receive a 100% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel between April 29th, 2017 and July 7th, 2017: You will receive a 50% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel between July 8th, 2017 and August 4th, 2017: You will receive a 25% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel after August 4th, 2017 all monies paid will be non-refundable

Trip cancellation must be made by calling The Tree & Vine at 828-505-4040 or 865-985-0524, and must be followed up by written confirmation via email or mail.


Please note that itineraries and itinerary verbiage, supplemental tour information, flyer design, proprietary copy and copyrighted photos are to be used exclusively for promoting the CountryBred and The Tree & Vine co-branded gourmet tour.