The Aeolian Islands, a Feast in the Med

Aeolian Adventures’ tours focus on eating and drinking; perhaps not surprising, as the Aeolian Islands and neighbouring Sicily are a food and wine lover’s paradise

Aeolian Adventures, who offer small group tours of the islands, start their tours in the vibrant Sicilian city of Catania. Visitors get their first experience of Sicily on a visit to Catania’s fish market, followed by their first taste, with a lesson from a Italian pastry chef on making cannoli – the iconic Sicilian dessert, crispy pastry tubes of sweetened ricotta.

Guests then hop on a ferry to the Aeolian Islands where they will discover even more of the local flavours, try their hand at cooking local dishes and even get chance to go fishing for squid or to milk a goat!

The tours are based on the island of Vulcano, but there is the chance to visit other islands in the archipelago, including Salina, where guests explore the local vineyards and try some of the renowned local tipples, and Lipari for pastries, pesto and yet more wine. There is also chance to see the volcanic island of Stromboli by boat, with the possibility of some volcanic display, oh and dinner on board.

There are lessons in cooking pasta, meat and fish dishes, cheese tasting, plus frozen dessert granite and, of course, pizza, as well as chances to go swimming in mud baths and also to hike up volcano craters (no doubt to work up an appetite!)

There are highlights aplenty, but the chance to visit to a goat herder and to have chance to milk a goat before tasting homemade cheeses and also to take a squid fishing trip after dark must rank as two of the most unusual holiday experiences.

The small group nature of the tours makes them feel relaxed and friendly. Solo travellers will also feel welcome and appreciate Aeolian Adventures not charging single supplements in accommodation. Tours suit active types who enjoy fresh air, good food and good company. The tours are all led by Laura Panico, whose family have roots in Puglia and Sicily, and who relates her childhood discovery of Italian food and markets with her Nonna to her keen interest in introducing the same to her guests.

The packed itinerary still includes time to relax between excursions, meals and wine tastings. But one thing is for sure; on an Aeolian Adventures guests certainly don’t go hungry.

Aeolian Adventures offer seven day tours inclusive of accommodation, cookery lessons, wine tasting full board and local transport. The price is £2,165 per person. Prices do not include airfare. Guests can fly to Catania directly from Gatwick with BA or Easyjet and from Dublin with Aer Lingus.