A culinary week at Rocca delle Tre Contrade

HOSTED BY CHRISTIAN PUGLISI OF RELAE, COPENHAGEN

NB: our 2019 culinary week with Christian Puglisi (9th - 16th November) is sold out.
NEW COURSE:  25th April - 2nd May 2020 - details below


Rising proudly between Mount Etna and the sparkling waters of the Ionian Sea, Rocca delle Tre Contrade is one of the finest luxury villas in the Mediterranean. Over the years it has acquired a well-earned reputation for its exquisite cuisine, its warm hospitality and its refined, sophisticated accommodation.

From 25th April - 2nd May 2020, Rocca delle Tre Contrade will be hosting a week-long, full-immersion experience for gastronomes and keen amateur cooks led by renowned chef Christian F. Puglisi. 

Christian worked in the kitchens of El Bulli (“Best Restaurant in the World” in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), and Noma (“Best Restaurant in the World” in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014) before setting up his own restaurant, Relæ, in Copenhagen, in 2010. In 2017, Relæ was rated as one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants and remains in the Top 60 today.

I had always hoped to cook professionally in Sicily, my home and the land of my culinary heritage. After more than 15 years of working as a professional chef, Rocca delle Tre Contrade and The Thinking Traveller have given me the opportunity to realise this dream.”    

Christian F. Puglisi


We are extremely proud to have Christian and Alessandro from the Relæ Community with us here in Sicily for this extraordinary and unique week-long workshop. We have a shared vision about authentic, local ingredients, pure flavours and low intervention wines, and are looking forward to experiencing it with you first-hand.”    

Jon Moslet, owner of Rocca delle Tre Contrade


During the course, you will be able to immerse yourselves in Sicilian food culture through a series of dedicated hands-on workshops under the guidance of Christian, his team from Relæ, and the in-house villa kitchen team. The programme includes masterclasses on cuts of meat, charcuterie, sourdough and bread-making, cheese-making, raw seafood, and low intervention wines. You will be able to take part in the lemon harvest, go foraging, taste Sicilian street food, and learn about vermouth preparation. An introduction to the most well-known traditional Sicilian recipes will add a further dimension to your Sicilian adventure.

"For gastronomes with a particular penchant for Sicilian fare, a new adventure at Rocca delle Tre Contrade will deliver an unmissable opportunity to revel in the region's cuisine and culture ... (with) Christian Puglisi.”    

FT How to Spend It, July 2019


More about Christian Puglisi, your chef, inspiration and host

Chef, founder and front figure of the Relæ Community, Christian formerly worked at El Bulli and Noma before opening Relæ , the first Michelin-starred restaurant to be certified organic, in 2010. He subsequently launched Manfreds, BÆST, Mirabelle Restaurant & Bakery, RUDO, and the Farm of Ideas, a small-scale organic farm that supplies produce to all the Relæ  Community's venues. Relæ is currently ranked among the 100 best restaurants in the world.

"I’m so excited to be going to Sicily and can't wait to make the most of the amazing local produce, like the rare black pigs from the Nebrodi Mountains. Just as our guests at the Relæ Community can taste the difference when we serve them food made with organic produce grown just outside Copenhagen, so the participants at Rocca delle Tre Contrade will be able to taste the richness and superior quality of Sicily's finest ingredients."    

Christian F. Puglisi


    




Special guest and co-host - Alessandro Perricone

Head sommelier and partner, Alessandro is in charge of wine and front of house for the Relæ Community. After graduating in Gastronomic Sciences from the Slow Food University in Pollenzo, Alessandro gained extensive professional experience in the field of wine and winemaking. He joined the Relæ team in 2013 and became a partner in 2017.

"What's exciting for me about this trip is that I will be returning to Sicily and rediscovering my root – my family originates from Palermo. I have often used the world of wine as a way of travelling and to be able to do so in an area that is still relatively new to me, despite my Sicilian heritage, is a great opportunity. I find it fascinating that Sicily has such a long history of wine-making, yet doesn’t have a history of bottling its wine. Bottling wine means believing in your wine; believing in its potential to age and to travel the world. Somehow, I feel Sicily has never fully believed in itself. It’s time to discover Sicily, time to believe in Sicily, and I’d love to start with its wines!"    

Alessandro Perricone




    Rocca delle Tre Contrade at night    


Your accommodation - Rocca delle Tre Contrade

Rocca delle Tre Contrade occupies a stunningly panoramic position atop its own hill on Sicily’s east coast. Uninterrupted 360-degree views take in the sparkling Ionian Sea to one side and the fertile flanks and lava peak of Mount Etna to the other. The views of this former aristocratic estate are further enhanced by the intense greens and citrus flashes of the villa’s grounds, which feature lemon groves, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. The magnificence of Mother Nature is rivalled only the amenities on offer, which include delightfully  refurbished, generously proportioned interiors, 12 luxuriously finished en-suite bedrooms, a spectacular 25-metre, south-facing heated infinity pool (ranked one the 100 most beautiful pools in the world by Condé Nast Traveller), a clay tennis court, and a spa area, including Hammam and a well-equipped gym. 

Close by is Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site), Taormina, Catania, and a host of other fascinating towns, many of which are also designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The culinary excellence and welcoming hospitality of Rocca delle Tre Contrade has been featured in, amongst others, The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Times (UK), BBC Good Food (UK), Elle (UK), House & Garden (UK), Bon Appetit (US), Foodism (UK) and The Sophisticated Traveller (AUS).


"Culinary alchemy." Foodism magazine, February 2019    
“Pretty much our dream vacation.”  Bon Appetit magazine, July 2016





Rocca delle Tre Contrade in the press

 Sophisticated Traveller   
Gala   
Elle Decor   
The Independent   
The Times   
Departures   
Ingredients, Inc   
The Financial Times How to Spend It


Feedback from previous “visiting chef” workshops at Rocca delle Tre Contrade:



Chef Merlin Labron-Johnson, April 2019


“Everything was just perfect.” MD (San Jose, USA)    
“A really memorable trip.” FL (Hong Kong)    
“A truly authentic experience, full of adventure.” SHL (London, UK)



Chef Skye Gyngell's 'Spring in Sicily', March 2017


“It has been an extraordinary week” ALØ (Oslo, Norway)    
“Everything about this week has been a joy” KB (Seattle, USA)    
“In every way, perfection, but most of all, your generosity of spirit and hospitality” MB (Long Island, USA)    
“Surpassing all expectations” AK (Sydney, Australia)    
“What a memorable week it has been” KW (Edmonton, Canada)    
“A brilliant week of lessons, food, fun and incomparable warm hospitality." L and T, US




magasine, plate of pasta, oranges in a market

An overview of the week

This is a unique, “once-in-a-lifetime” exclusive gourmet experience with a maximum 16 participants. You will spend a whole week in the company of one of the most renowned culinary teams in the world, while staying in one of the finest villas in the Mediterranean and taking in the sights, sounds and tastes in and around the villa, watching cookery demonstrations and cooking yourself, and learning about Sicilian ingredients, food and wine.

Chef Christian F. Puglisi - who is originally Sicilian - is returning to Sicily to cook for the first time in his professional career and you will “re-discover” some of the area’s multifarious gastronomic traditions and exquisite produce with him. You will participate in dedicated master classes and spend time cooking “hands-on” under Christian’s guidance and his team, visit markets, meet local producers and even learn a trick or two from our in-house Sicilian cook, who will let you in on some of her old traditional recipes.

Some of the unique experiences that have been organised exclusively for this special week with Christian F. Puglisi also include a meeting with the pioneering farmer who saved the rare Nebrodi black pig and brought it back from extinction, exclusive visits to small boutique wineries in the emerging Etna wine region, an introduction to Vermouth making and a special tour by night of Catania taking in the city’s fascinating history, its ancient mythology and the lives of ordinary people through local food traditions.

Guests will also have time to enjoy the infinite, luxurious charms of the villa, relaxing in the gardens, strolling through the lemon orchards, swimming in the pool, recuperating energies in the spa or even playing a set or two of tennis.    





The programme in full: 25th April - 2nd May 2020

 
Day 1 - Saturday 25th April

Arrival day including transfers from Catania Airport to Rocca delle Tre Contrade.

  • from 4:00pm - arrival at villa and check-in (in the case of early arrival, lunch can be arranged before check-in)   
  • an introduction to Rocca delle Tre Contrade
  • an introduction to Christian Puglisi, Alessandro Perricone and the Real Community philosophy
  • foraging walk
  • 6:15pm - Vermouth masterclass with Alessandro Perricone
  • 7:00pm - welcome Vermouth aperitif and introduction to the week ahead
  • 8:00pm - an introduction to the wines to be served for dinner by Alessandro Perricone and a gourmet dinner prepared by Rocca delle Tre Contrade's in-house cooks

   
Day 2 - Sunday 26th April

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 9:30am - an introduction to the wild Nebrodi black pig by one of the pioneering farmers who has helped to save the breed from extinction, followed by a hands-on butchering masterclass and overview of cuts of meat
  • 12:30pm - early lunch around the open-air fire pit
  • 2:30pm - hands-on charcuterie and sausage-making masterclass. You will learn how to make salami and fresh sausage and prepare the dishes for dinner. You will also assist Christian Puglisi in the making of his signature ragù.
  • 7:00pm - aperitif and introduction to the wines to be served for dinner by Alessandro Perricone
  • 8:00pm - barbecue dinner prepared by Christian and the Relæ team

   
Day 3 - Monday 27th April

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 9:30pm - departure for wine-tasting tour on Mount Etna. After a panoramic drive of about 90 minutes over the highest roads of Etna (2,000 metres above sea level), you'll have a private visit of some of Etna's smaller wineries to learn about the fertile volcanic soil, microclimates, the terroir and low intervention wines produced using Etna's autochthonous grape varieties. After tasting some of the wines, you'll have a ricotta and cheese-making masterclass followed by a picnic lunch.
  • 3:00pm - return to Rocca delle Tre Contrade
  • 3:30pm - an introduction to indigenous ancient Sicilian wheat varieties followed by a hands-on sourdough and bread-making masterclass and a  light workshop revolving around pasta and the preparation of dishes for dinner, including finishing off Christian's ragù.
  • 7:00pm - aperitif and introduction to the wines to be served for dinner by Alessandro Perricone
  • 8:00pm - dinner prepared by Christian and the Relæ team

   
Day 4 - Tuesday 28th April

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 9:30am - visit a local fishmonger
  • an introduction to raw Sicilian seafood followed by a raw seafood masterclass, during which Christian will work with the in-villa cook and demonstrate how to prepare and serve exquisite but simple fresh crudo dishes. There will also be some hands-on work.
  • after the seafood experience, you will bake the dough prepared during yesterday's sourdough masterclass.
  • 1:00pm -  lunch
  • 2:30pm -  hands-on Sicilian specialities masterclass, preparing traditional arancini and cannoli with Rocca delle Tre Contrade's in-house cooks
  • 4:30pm - a visit to the 17th century baroque city of Catania, its old town centre, and its patisseries, markets and food stalls. Your English-speaking guide will take you on a street food tour, pulling together the city’s fascinating history, its ancient mythology, and the lives of ordinary people through local food traditions. You will eat dinner "along the way"
  • 10:30pm - return to Rocca delle Tre Contrade

   
Day 5 - Wednesday 29th April

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • free morning to explore the villa and its surroundings or, if you prefer, a light bread and focaccia-making workshop
  • 12:30pm - an introduction to Sicilian wines outside the Etna area with Alessandro, followed by a guided tasting and, at 1:30pm, a light buffet lunch prepared by the in-villa cooks
  • 2:30pm - hands-on cooking masterclass, building on the knowledge you've acquired during the first few days to create a dinner menu based on vegetables, seafood and pork
  • 7:30pm - aperitif
  • 8:00pm - dinner prepared by Christian and the Relæ team

   
Day 6 - Thursday 30th April

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 10:am- “Bringing it all together” (part 1). A hands-on cookery session under the guidance of the Relæ team, bringing together the recipes and the techniques acquired during the week. You will work in teams to prepare a celebratory dinner in the company of  Christian and his team.
  • 1:00pm - light lunch prepared by the in-villa cooks
  • 2:30pm -  “Bringing it all together” (part 2) - continuing preparations for dinner.
  • 7:30pm - aperitif
  • 8:00pm - the last dinner, enjoyed together with Christian and his team

   
Day 7 - Friday 1st May

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 9.30am - free day or optional full-day guided excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage towns of Syracuse and Noto (approx. 1hr20 drive)
  • 11:00am - guided tour of Syracuse, including the food market, the city’s ancient Greek centre and one of Caravaggio’s last paintings, the Burial of St. Lucy
  • 1:00pm - light lunch in Syracuse's market area
  • 3:30pm -  guide tour of Noto, including its baroque masterpieces and a visit to the Chef’s Table at Caffè Sicilia
  • 6:00pm - return to Rocca delle Tre Contrade
  • 7:30pm - aperitif and cocktails
  • 8:00pm - farewell dinner prepared by the in-villa cooks.

   
Departure day - Saturday 2nd May

  • 8:30am - breakfast
  • 10:00am - check-out and transfers to Catania airport


Notes   

  • breakfast is served every morning around the communal table at the villa
  • the programme may subject to slight variations based on weather conditions and availability of seasonal produce
  • Christian Puglisi and his team will be present throughout the week and during all activities, from Saturday evening to Friday morning (6 days)
  • the work stations in the villa's large demo kitchen will be shared by a maximum of four participants


    


Prices include:   

  • six days immersed in a full food and wine programme with chef Christian Puglisi and sommelier Alessandro Perricone, including cookery demo sessions and seven hands-on workshops with Christian Puglisi and his team
  • seven nights’ accommodation at the private luxury villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade in double rooms (single occupancy also available)
  • a programme of guided tours with an English-speaking guide and related ground transportation
  • the presence of Jon Moslet, co-owner of Rocca delle Tre Contrade, an expert in local food and wine and host for your stay. Jon is also fluent in English and Italian.
  • all meals and wine-tastings including wine and beverages (7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • transfers between Catania Fontanarossa Airport and Rocca delle Tre Contrade on the first and last days of the week
  • complimentary in-house laundry service (dry cleaning not included)

   
Prices exclude:

  • Flights and all travel/transfers from your home to Catania Airport and back
  • Optional medical or cancellation insurance
  • Any meals and attractions not specified in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities for guides, drivers and villa staff
  • Any additional travel expenses associated with extended stays
  • Anything not mentioned in the Prices Include section

Accompanying partner rate (ie for those travelling with a participant but not actually taking part in the course themselves) includes airport transfer, accommodation and breakfast only. Lunches and dinners are available at €50 per meal.

   
Number of participant

  • Maximum 16


    
Mouse X
Mouse Y
Mouse Speed
Mouse Direction