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Travel to Sicily with author Nicky Pellegrino for a ‘Food of Love Tour’

15th November 2019

Travel to Sicily with author Nicky Pellegrino for a Food of Love Tour 4-10 October 2020.

Travel to Sicily with author Nicky Pellegrino

The author in Modica

People kept telling me that I had inspired them to visit Italy. I’ve written 11 novels set there, mostly in the south in Basilicata, Puglia and Sicily, but also a couple in Venice. My books capture so much of what is special about Italian life – the food, the people, the culture – and I always hoped that readers who dreamed of Italy would feel as if they were really there as they delved into their pages.

But now it turned out they were actually going – and having a fantastic time then emailing me about it – and I started to feel left out. Why wasn’t I with them, bringing my novels to life?

At the time I was wrestling with the manuscript of my last book, A Dream Of Italy, and with a deadline looming it felt like I was chained to my desk. Italy was a long way away.

My father’s family comes from a town in Campania, near Naples and as a child; growing up in the north of England; we travelled there most summers. Then 25 years ago I took it into my head to move to New Zealand and, although I still return to Italy each year to research my stories, more often I’m at home on the other side of the world, trying to conjure up the places I love in my imagination.

The Cookery School

So I had a really good idea. Why didn’t I host a tour that would take people to the Italy of my novels, to visit some of the locations, taste the flavours I describe, and experience what had inspired me?

I decided to start small, just a single boutique tour with eight to 14 people. And it wasn’t difficult to choose which book to bring alive. My best ever research trip was to Sicily for the Food Of Love Cookery School. I spent a week in Modica, a small town in the southeast known for its Baroque architecture and its chocolate, where a woman called Katia Amore took me to beautiful places, fed me wonderful food, and showed me how to cook classic Sicilian dishes.

Katia still shares her joy of food, teaching classes at her family home and she tells me that readers of my novel continue to beat a path to her door.

So with the help of local specialists, Southern Visions, I planned my dream six-night Food Of Love Sicily Culinary Adventure – a delicious trip to southern Italy.

Naturally the tour includes Modica and a class with Katia. But like the characters in my novel, each day we will explore a new place and have a different food experience.

We will step back in time and visit a farm where ricotta cheese is still made the same way it has been for centuries, dine in a palace, stay in a castle, sail along the coast beside the ancient city of Syracuse, eat crisp cannoli, sip the local Nero D’Avola wine and visit the famous pasticceria in Noto that appears in my book and was also featured in the Netflix series Chef’s Table.

There will be a picnic in a vineyard and lunch in a fishing village. Everywhere we go we will enjoy the warm hospitality of the Siciliani. And we’ll have fun!

The thing about Italy is every region is distinctly different – from the dialect that is spoken, to the dishes that are eaten. To me Sicily is colour and life, sweetness and sunshine.

I can’t promise that anybody on my tour will meet the love of their life there – like one of the characters in the novel does – but I am absolutely sure they will fall in love with the beauty and flavours of Sicily.

Nicky Pellegrino’s Food of Love tour in Sicily takes place on October 4 – 10, 2020. For more details sign up to her mailing list on her website and find out more on her Travel to Italy with Nicky page.

Catch her on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.


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