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sabato 5 novembre 2011

The taste of Taormina -Subtitle : one day or another I'm gonna find you I'm gonna get get get you Jim Kerr

No one likes Simple Minds as I do. As presumptuous as it may sound I' m pretty sure of what I say. Their songs accompanied me throughout my teenage years and adult life , through my high school days and my university ones, in each and every moment of my young and not so young life. I have been to their concerts and listened to their songs over and over again. As of now one of my favourite songs is still New Gold dream. I have followed them in their social battles from the Live Aid Concert to the Free Mandela one and through the Street Fighting years and the Northern Ireland turnmoil of Belfast child. My teenage dreams have been filled with Jim Kerr fantasies (yes yes I'm not afraid to say it):it was the eighties and it was a great time. Moving around Duran Duran and Spandau ballet I have always come back to my first love. There was a movie in Italy when I was fifteen called "I'll marry Simon Le Bon" who , at the time was a real hottie, but I have been faithful to Jim. Always. Even when he was married to Chrissy Hinde or worse to Patsy Kensit. So you can imagine my reaction when I found out he moved to beautiful Taormina a few years ago since he bought an hotel there . I went there for a wedding years ago but I wasn't lucky weatherwise nor in my search for Jim. Lately I was offered the possibility to go for work and I oviously signed up immediately. This time I still wasn't lucky with the weather since when I got to Catania airport it was pouring and I wasn't exactly thrilled. There are two ways to get to Taormina who lays on a top of a hill: by car or by bus and this is a good alternative to renting a vehicle which may be a little expensive. It only takes a while since it stops practically everywhere on the way. When I got there it had stopped raining so I took a stroll in the center which was lovely just as I remembered it to be, but even better since it was off season on a week day.

Centro Storico

Last time I stayed in a very nice hotel called Villa Schuler: href="">
which I would suggest especially in summer since it has a wonderful view on the bay and a big garden where a delicious breakfast is served. This time instead I stayed in Villa Paradiso a supposedly four star hotel (ambitious to consider it a four stars as I wrote on my trip advisor comment). People working there are extremely kind and helpful and the hall is cozy and nice but the rooms are a little old and very basic. However it has good promotions and the prices can be a real bargain.
Streets of Taormina

Town center
And then it comes the food. I have only one word for it: mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. My suggestion is to get out of the center walls: the food at the restaurants inside can be good but the prices are not... (very expensive) besides they tend to be a little touristic. When you get out of the walls you encounter real food believe me, and for those who haven't tried Sicilian food you don't know what you're missing. Last time I went to the famous restaurant Da Nino which is in Letojanni on the sea and it was absolute heaven. The best risotto alla pescatora I have ever eaten. Seriously . Also they have pickled garlic you can eat just like peanuts: delicious and it doesn't give you problems if you want to have a close conversation with someone. Nino
This time instead without having to go too far I ended up in a restaurant which has the same name "Trattoria da Nino"just outside the walls of the center and I found heaven again. I was there for a convention and I went there by myself. Sometimes you know how it is to eat by yourself: I generally like it but sometimes it can also be boring. Well as soon as I got there I felt like I was going inside my house. Cozy, warm and with a good atmosphere. Also the patrons were really friendly as Southern Italians can be ( and I know well, being one of them) so it felt like having dinner with a lot of people ... The food is fantastic : pistachio and shrimp ravioli, the freshest grilled fish you can imagine, swordfish involtini, tuna carpaccio etc. I liked it so much I had to go back again the next day.
I also found out about this other very good place also outside the walls called "L'incontro". The owner was very nice and talkative . A very well travelled man who knew about a lot of things and the food was good too. I went there for lunch and didn't eat too much but I would go there again so that I can taste more. He told me that Jim Kerr was there two nights before for dinner. Who? Oh yes that's right I had to look for him but I forgot but now I'll find him . This is what I said to myself instead this is where I ended up: in the beautiful Teatro Greco

What's there to say ? Pictures speak for themselves . These is also a very nice view of the city from there.
The morning after to escape the dreadful convention I went for the famous granita Sicilians have in the morning with a croissant . I like coffee granita but there are many different flavours : almond, lemon, orange, tangerine, watermelon and other new ones. There is nothing like a coffee granita with whipped cream and the place to go to in Taormina is Bam Bar.

The convention was almost over and I still hadn't found Jim. During a break I passed by a sweet shop and decided I could not leave Sicily without some cannoli or cassata . Because when it comes to sweet things even if don't have a real sweet tooth I have to bow myself in front of the noblest of all sweets: His majesty Il cannolo siciliano. Now you explain to me how you can resist this because I simply can't.

By the time I was on my way to the airport I realize that I didn't manage to find Jim Kerr my teenage idol, the man of my dreams, the only reason I actually went to Taormina even if disguised as a business trip. Damn !! I got lost in all the food and forgot about my purpose. Oh well at this point I guess I'll have to go back and this time I'll find you Jim, you can be sure ! I just have to stay away from all of the delicacies of Taormina.