Monday, April 28, 2014

Breakfast with a view at Villa Carlotta in Taormina

Last week while everyone slept in at home, R and I hopped on the big motorcycle and swerved down the hilltop road towards Hotel Villa Carlotta to have breakfast a deux. Have you noticed a pattern? We like to escape by ourselves every so often.

Once we parked outside we went up to the rooftop terrace and settled ourselves in with a breathtaking view. Lady Etna puffing away to the right, with a view down to Siracusa at the southern tip of Sicily. And to the left and directly in front of us, Calabria across the Straits of Messina.

The hotel used to be owned by locals, then was bought by some Swiss, and recently it came back under Sicilian ownership. They combined some of the rooms to make more expansive suites, and it's now truly a boutique hotel with just 23 total.

I'm not sure how or when R had the idea to go there for breakfast, especially since Italians aren't big on that meal (come to think of it, neither am I, unless we're talking about a brunch situation), but I'm so glad he suggested it. We started off with cups and cups of coffee, and then since I hadn't had an egg since Stockholm, I asked for two poached eggs and then filled my plate with some of the hyper-local (as in, from the surrounding areas of Sicily, not the whole island) goodies laid out. First, some braised artichokes, sliced tomatoes, soft sheep's cheese and hard saffron cheese, and a few hefts of salami. For the next round, some thick yogurt, nespole (a.k.a., loquat— something I had never had before), and an indulgent slice of a pistachio hazelnut torte.

While the hotel mostly has American, Canadian and British tourists, I really like that they don't offer an American-style continental breakfast, but rather an American format with Sicilian fare.

After breakfast we toured the grounds, headily perfumed by the zagara (orange blossoms), lemon trees, jasmine, and gardenia everywhere. I wish I could have bottled it up to dab behind my ears every morning.

After sitting in the garden and fantasizing I was at my own house for a bit, we got back on the bike and headed home.

One year ago: Fratelli d'Italia


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