In a few (too short) weeks, the year 2023 is just around the corner, which got me thinking about travel trends for the new year and in particular the predictions for food travel and wine tourism. These were trending in 2022 and are expected to continue in 2023. It’s just that they’re my favorite travel experiences. While I realize that not every wine lover is a foodie, to be honest, I rarely get requests for one experience without the other.
Opinions on what will be hot in 2023 vary somewhat from publication to publication, one trend that remains constant is that families want to spend time together and share authentic experiences. Family reunions and multi-generational travel are popular, and the reason for that is easy to understand. The same goes for wish lists or bucket lists, depending on who you ask.
People aren’t putting off those dream goals anymore, and I’ve heard the all-too-familiar quote “life is too short” many times over the past year. Travelers are ready to step out of their comfort zone, want authentic adventures off the beaten track, and have expressed an interest in discovering new cultures and experiencing new things. Cookie-cutter trips are off as people reassess what’s important to them post-pandemic. Travelers don’t want to rush an experience; they want to enjoy it and share it with their loved ones. Those who enjoy traveling alone expressed a desire to make new friends along the way.
With Thanksgiving upon us, I wondered how those who celebrate the holiday would spend it when traveling abroad. I know travelers love to learn about cultures through their food, so “foodie” families traveling together might just have a new experience this Thanksgiving.
As loved ones increasingly search for authentic experiences together, cooking classes, trying local dishes and shopping at the local markets have been a big part of their shared experiences during their trip. Not to mention comparing whose dish is most similar to those they’ve learned while traveling! Food always has a way of bringing people together, and the holidays are a perfect example of that.
Many friendships have been made at the local restaurants or “off the beaten track” places, which has been my experience traveling solo and has become a way of connecting with others around the world. Conversations have started about an interesting dish or a delicious dessert and the unique flavors that are different from the area they are visiting. Thanks to social media, we now share these images and experiences with friends and followers far and wide.
Countries are also often associated with certain foods. People travel all over the world to eat an authentic tagine in Morocco or the best ramen in Japan and let’s not forget the best pizza or pasta in Italy! While the pristine beaches and ancient architecture steeped in some of the Mediterranean’s richest histories and ‘dolce far niente’ way of life are quite underwhelming, Italian food is without a doubt one of the main draws. Wait… no, I meant to say the wine! Well, it’s definitely a draw. Italy is famous for both!
As a firm believer in seeking that adventure off the beaten path, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Di Giovanna winery, nestled on the mountainside of Monte Genuardo, which is a protected nature reserve. Di Giovanna is one of the oldest winemaking families in Sicily. For my wine lovers and customers, their winemaking tradition goes back 5 generations, between Contessa Entellina and Sambucca di Sicilia, and they have won many awards!
Not only do they offer an incredible wine tasting experience, but they also work in partnership with the Abbey of Santa Maria Del Bosco, a magnificent ancient Sicilian abbey also located within the Monte Genuardo Nature Reserve. Imagine staying in a beautiful but ‘primitive’ abbey, probably dating back to the 1300’s, with all the history to discover! You can read more about the abbey HERE and by the way it’s also a stunningly beautiful wedding venue! Just look at these pictures. It couldn’t be more unique!
To complete the dining experience, the winery also offers a market tour and lunch with Di Giovanna wine. This comprehensive Sicilian food experience includes a chef-led market tour with a local expert to discover the unique and wonderfully unpredictable outdoor food markets of Palermo’s historic city center. This is followed by a joint hands-on cooking course with lunch. Imagine impressing your friends back home with your newfound Sicilian cooking skills!
The best time to visit this stunningly beautiful winery and spend a few nights at the Abbey is in spring and autumn. In the mountains, just 20km from the Mediterranean coast, the slopes are covered with wildflowers and herbs in spring when visitors can enjoy the fresh ricotta. Autumn is the time of the grape and olive harvest, with plenty of sun and light. During this time, visitors can enjoy cooler temperatures and a more relaxed experience as there are fewer tourists. The sea is usually warm for swimming until October. The island is also famous for its cathedrals, island beaches and amazing architecture, so there will be no shortage of activities to take part in during your visit.
As for wine, Sicily is actually the largest wine producing region in all of Italy. In fact, larger than even the Chianti powerhouse of Tuscany, whose vineyards cover more than the entire countries of Germany, New Zealand or South Africa. Unfortunately, Sicilian wine is not as well known in the US compared to other Italian regions, which is such a shame! However, you can order the wine online and also contact the Di Giovanna winery for more information. See their contact information below.
Di Giovanna wine is available in the US, and Melissa Di Giovanna was kind enough to offer suggestions for Thanksgiving wine pairings: For your traditional turkey dinner, try the Vurria Nerello Mascalese Rosso. For a dinner of venison or lamb, try Helios Nero d’Avola, the family’s flagship wine. For salmon and vegetarian dishes, Melissa recommends Vurria Nerello Mascalese Rosato DOC Sicilia 2021. You can read more about their wines and their many awards HERE, and information about their wine tours HERE. If you travel to Italy, be sure to include this experience in your itinerary!
I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving! Until next time.