Authentic Sicilian Experience for the Food Lover Reviews
Scott & Jennifer
Trip taken June 2018
We had an excellent experience. Our guide, Paulo, did an A+ job. We enjoyed each of the locations for their merits and each of the teachers we encountered. We also learned much about Sicily beyond its cuisine.
We liked it all. Paolo our guide shared his knowledge of Sicily. He shared the history of important landmarks as we toured. He felt like family to us. Our cooking experiences were fun and we learned how to cook very interesting meals. We even went to the market in Palermo and bought the food for our cooking class. We were treated to local restaurants, wineries, and olive oil producers. They all spent time with us and we felt like we experienced a family meal with them. The hotels were beautiful and the people who worked within them were accommodating. We did not want to come home.
Robert & Diane B., NV
Our trip to Sicily was fantastic! And not the least because of Paolo, our great guide. He is knowledgeable, charming and fun and takes care of everything. He is the best!
Judy and Mel Z., IL
Sicily was more that we could have expected. It is an intriguing, beautiful island, great food and wine, wonderful sights and we were lucky enough to have Paolo as our guide during our time. I cannot imagine doing such a trip without him!
Margie and Sandy M., FL
I thought Sicily was a fabulously unique country with much to offer - culturally, gastronomically. The people were warm and inviting and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I felt the small size of our group helped make the experience more personal. The three cooking classes were wonderful - each unique in its own way. Our guide Paolo was great, and although he fell ill half way through the trip, he managed to find replacements to finish the trip. I understand we had to travel from town to town, although sometimes the long car rides were tiresome. I especially liked Modica and Siracusa. The one glitch in my trip was the fact that Alitalia lost my suitcase both on the trip over as well as on the trip home.
Marguerite & Erika D., NJ
Paolo was the highlight of our experience...we absolutely loved the chefs he took us to, Vincenzo, Katia, Colette and Pietro...Paolo was the finest young man in personality, historical knowledge of Sicily, and of culinary customs. He made the trip the absolutely wonderful one it was. Except for Vincenzo however, we have received none of the recipes we either worked on (Katia) or shared (Colette and Pietro)...I am waiting after writing to them, but would appreciate your helping me obtain the specific dishes we shared with each. My husband and friends are waiting for me to share what I learned...I need the recipes.. Thank you. Also, the shared room I had with my friend was less than acceptable in two hotels, with a single queen bed for the two of us.
Diane B., FL
_Response from The International Kitchen:_ Thank you for your feedback, etc., about the recipes. We booked and confirmed rooms with two beds at all the hotels. We wish you had advised us or Paolo, and we would have made sure to have your room changed to twin beds!
Planning. Having no idea what I was looking for, it was great to speak to Karen who came up with a great idea for us. I think she prepared me for what to expect and it was a great choice for us. My daughter and I will always remember this trip. The itinerary: I thought the itinerary was very well planned, it was diverse and mixed culture with culinary experiences.
Paolo- was fantastic, he was a pleasure to be around, informative, accommodating. We couldn't have been happier with him
Cooking: We were only able to have two cooking experiences- both were fantastic. I wouldn't have changed anything. Both said we could email them for recipes. I haven't had a chance to do that. I think it would be great for that to be already part of the experience (even with other Sicilian recipes might be a nice idea) Was disappointed that our last chef was ill so we missed that option (perhaps there should be back ups to each chef available?) All the other visits were great.
Accommodations: I felt this was the weakest part of the experience. As I told Paolo, I thought that he and the chefs/tours were first class but I thought the accommodations were very moderate. I really think the guests should be given an option to upgrade to 5 stars for a set amount of $$. I think I would have done that in retrospect. I know these are all 4 star properties but most don't feel that way. I went property by property with Paolo and each had an explanation. Palermo property, Ok rooms, I guess ok location, horrible front desk/ breakfast lobby area, felt very moderate tour operator hotel. Argiento- I know we weren't in his typical hotel- the one we stayed in felt stuck in 1969, again felt very British tour operator locale. Modica- clearly dated hotel but we had a lovely room so I liked that one, probably the best Taormina- better than expected but still not stylish. I loved the lunch at the olive press, I didn't love the fancy lunch we had near Agrigento (but I am not a super foodie). I would have loved to see the Roman Villa but there was a torrential downpour. liked the valley of the temples. Glad Paolo took us to see the cathedral in Palermo. Siracusa prettiest city.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] as mentioned above Karen was very helpful planning. All others we spoke to were helpful as well. I was surprised that this email didn't have the week I got back (think it should be closer to the trip)
Lisa O., NY
_Response from The International Kitchen:_ Thank you for your feedback! We will definitely look into adding an option for a 5-star hotel upgrade!
Our guide, Paolo Gallo, made this trip very special for us. He has a great knowledge of all things Sicilian and a great love of the island that he was keen to share with us. We were sorry to part at the end of the trip. The choice of places to visit was very good. We particularly enjoyed the visit to the Valley of the Temples and the Roman Villa at Casale. All three cooking classes were excellent and a lot of fun. Each showcased a different aspect of Sicilian cooking. The chefs were generous with their responses to our questions. We were a little anxious about the class with Pietro until we met him a found him to be the most humble and genuine of people who was keen to share his insights with a couple of amateurs. We will go home inspired to recreate some of the recipes. Our one minor gripe was the hotel Kaos. We don't enjoy isolated hotels where the only food options are in the hotel. It was also the only place that charged for WiFii. On the other hand the hotel in Modica was a great place to stay.
[Regarding the information packet:] Info was fine.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] We dealt through a travel agent so don't have direct experience, but everything worked smoothly.
Denis & Helen C., Australia
_Response from The International Kitchen:_ We're glad you had such a fabulous time in Sicily with Paolo! Thank you for your feedback about the hotel. We will let Paolo know.
The trip was great. I especially enjoyed meeting with the chefs and having the real experience of being in their kitchen. The first chef took us to the local market and selected the items that would be our lunch and we also were able to try samples. Then we went back to his restaurant where he gave each of us superb instruction and guidance. After our efforts we enjoyed a lovely lunch and also got to share the meal with his mother. The next 2 chefs prepared the meals in their cooking schools. It was also a wonderful experience to try new dishes and enjoy the meal with the chefs. I will never forget this experience. It was truly wonderful.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Yes, I was very satisfied with the service.
Millita R., VA
My daughter found this trip....we were so excited! We were led by the hand through the entire process and everyone seemed to help us. We felt taken care of for sure! Every place we went there was someone there to meet us and happy to take us where we needed to be. The guides were all so very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about telling us everything they could.
The TIK staff was perfect! In fact, they seemed like friends. They almost seemed as excited as we were to take our trip. They were always available and VERY willing to answer our questions and provide any information or materials we needed. My only guilt at this point is never having taken a picture with our darling aprons!! That will yet happen