A ’muntagna, Mongibello, Etna. Call it what you want, but "she" (in Catania and surroundings, has tranchant about the genre, strictly feminine, of the volcano) remains unforgettable (unforgettable) as the New York Times called it.
But if volcano tourism has broken out in the USA, the phenomenon does not stop in the New World: Etna has ranks of admirers and aficionados also here, ready to climb the road that leads to its craters, to go trekking on the paths cut between the lava flows, skiing (skiing !!!) on the thirty kilometers of slopes of Linguaglossa and Nicolosi. But what goes up to the summit of Etna is also a way of the senses, which makes its way through solidified rivers of black lava and offers incredible views of the volcano and the sea, on very deep crops and valleys, on pastel-colored villages and villages built with lava stone boulders, on the farms and on the endless rows of dry stone walls also black with lava.
And if the eyes want their part, on the roads of Etna there is also room for taste. Travelers by gorge, at the foot of the volcano, find a small paradise dotted with delicacies, gastronomic excellence, unique products.
Which? It starts from Blood orange of Sicily to move on to green pistachio from Bronte, atMonte Etna extra virgin olive oil et al prickly pear from Etna, to the pecorino cheese Sicilian, alla cherry et al honey chestnut. Not to mention the wine. Easy, therefore, to come across the countries touched
from the over one hundred year old CircumEtnea railway (the one that runs at the foot of the mountain) in companies, wineries, distilleries, oil mills that work and transform raw materials.
Here, for example, in Aci Sant’Antonio (Ct) 3330: hand made in Sicily, says the company logo. Jams, jams and jellies of bitter oranges and bergamots, figs and tangerines, zibibbo grapes and pears are made from the Etna fruits. All rigorously prepared under the volcano.
In Randazzo there is Merlin houseo: from the olive groves as far as the eye of the property comes an EVO blend of the best local cultivars (Nocellara dell'Etna and Randazzese) but in the small company shop, in addition to home extra virgin olive oil, there is also a small but exhaustive selection of local products from honey (chestnut, sulla, orange blossom) to durum wheat pasta with pistachios.
Unmissable, then, Indigenous, amber, aromatic, alcoholic. A bitter (but perhaps it is an understatement to call it this) that has the intense soul of the island with its pomegranate notes that are enhanced by the hints of carob and sweet orange peel.
Last but not least, the green gold of Etna arrives, the pistachio, which in Bronte in Bio Sfera finds its reign: the cooperative of organic pistachio producers today offers in addition to nougat, crunchy fruits and pistachio chocolate also the products of Etna bio-farmers: oil, almonds and ancient wheat pasta.