Boutique agritourism, near sea, fantastic food & wine. Gracious comfort with full-on gourmet experience. La Foresteria is country living in style.
One of Sicily's most prestigious wine-producing families vents its passion for good food and wine here. Their claim that La Foresteria is dedicated to hospitality, cooking, wine and the land really sums it up well. It is a special place.
The aim is that guests should feel at home. Small and intimate, the friendliness and lack of formality is a delight. It does have a real feeling of refinement, but in the gracious homely comfort of a country house. We very soon felt at ease and part of things. Sonia, Cristina and Maria-Rosa are always on hand, with a smile, supremely willing to help with any request, if they can. We loved La Foresteria's own daily "newspaper ", which gives the weather for the day, suggestions for wine tours, trips out to places of interest, cooking classes and, most importantly, the menu of the day. A really charming, personal touch…..and, you can look forward to the dinner you will eat, ALL DAY! Yummy!
Surrounded by vineyards and in a perfectly chosen elevated spot, La Foresteria can be seen from far off, and its peachy-pink walls have a warm glow in the Sicilian sunshine. A contemporary building, the geometric modernity is softened by its connection with nature. All around it are lush green vines and they stretch as far as the sea, about 3km away. With a sort of "outside-inside feel", inner courtyard gardens of cacti, palms and orange trees, with little wooden stairs and walkways, lead to the rooms - a joy for garden-lovers.
An interesting contemporary building, La Foresteria's design hints at typically old Sicilian, with the Moorish-influenced inner courtyards, a central living area and wings of more humble "cottages", with wooden beams and terracotta floors. However, that's where humble ends. For the most part, the rooms are amazingly spacious, with generous bathrooms. They are extremely comfortable and antiques blend with some carefully chosen and exceptionally beautiful Indian pieces. Most have delightful decked garden terraces, from which guests can see the sea, in the distance.
A large lounge, with floor-to-ceiling glass for views over the vineyards to the sea, is sumptuous and comfortable. It has an antique, almost gentleman's club feel, with its leather sofas and comfy chairs, but colourful ceramics from our very favourite Caltagirone ceramicist, Alessi, soon remind you that you are in Sicily.
Herb beds everywhere remind guests that La Foresteria's beating heart is the kitchen. The supremely creative chef, Angelo, takes the best of seasonal ingredients and produces magic. His knowledge of wines, and which wine matches best with which dish, is extraordinary. Just like a home, guests will have a fairly set menu. There is occasionally a limited choice of main course (meat or fish), but the chef buys his ingredients fresh and in season and only wants to give guests the very best gourmet taste of Sicily. So, the daily newspaper gives the menu and guests are asked to book at breakfast time and let chef know, if there is anything they cannot eat. He will do his best to provide an alternative. Take it from us, the food is great, a full-on gourmet experience - we thoroughly enjoyed it. Many five star hotels would love to reach this level of cuisine, so full of flavour and a delight to the eye. Impressively knowledgeable and attentive waiters take pleasure in explaining the dishes and suggesting accompanying wines. Taking anything less than half-board here is bordering on lunacy! Angelo's kitchen is truly his kingdom. His cookery courses are superb, too. He says that a chef "…must be an alchemist, shaman and artist, whose work is not intended to cure physical or mental ailments, but rather have the more transcendental purpose of raising the spirits. " Well…..he certainly raised our spirits!
In summer, dinner is served on a lovely terrace, usually on separate tables. That is delightful. However, we also particularly love the period from the end of September/October to May/the beginning of June (depending on the weather), when guests dine around one big table, next to the kitchen, with its huge glass window. This is the traditional agritourist way of feeding guests and we love it. La Foresteria's warm welcoming atmosphere, convivial, like-minded company, and great food and wine - what more could you want?
As if all of that is not enough, there is also the most spectacular infinity pool, overlooking the vineyards and with ample decking for relaxing in the sun. Wow - it really is a pool with a view. If it's water you're after, try Porto Palo beach, just over 3km away, a massive expanse of golden sand and fabulous sea, which wins the Blue Flag award, year after year.
La Foresteria is dedicated to hospitality, cooking, wine, conviviality and the land, like no other.
In south-west Sicily, in the Province of Agrigento, Menfi is just over 100km south-west of Palermo airport & a similar distance from the airport at Trapani. Folk interested in history and culture will be spoilt for choice. The fabulous Greek archaelogical site of Selinunte is about 20km away, Segesta is about 70km and the temples at Agrigento are about 78km. Marsala is only just over 60km too. Menfi itself is a centre of the local wine industry, with several wineries, which produce some of the best-known Sicilian wines.
This is also the perfect destination for beach and nature lovers. Sicily's somewhat undiscovered south coast alternates between craggy cliffs, with sandy coves, and rolling dunes, with beautiful sheltered bays - intensely golden sand, like sparkly gold dust, and crystal clear sea, from the deepest turquoise to a sort of emerald green. Near Menfi, the long, sandy beaches, often deserted out of high season, are without doubt some of the most beautiful in Sicily. The Belice Nature Reserve, which stretches from Selinunte to Porto Palo Di Menfi (Menfi's small resort), has enchanting walks through dunes and alongside beaches - wild and uncontaminated nature. Inland, gently rolling hillsides and verdant valleys are covered in vineyards, olive groves, orchards, carob trees and prickly pears. This is a lush, unspoilt, sparsely populated landscape.