From America to Sicily #8217 &;, from precision mechanics to an organic garden, a vineyard and a farmhouse on & #8217; Etna. I'm used’ a story made in Sicily that speaks of roots, of returns and trusted, one that led Guido Coffa to give life to Monks delle Terre Nere, in Zafferana Etnea. Guido is an optimist, animated by thoughts always positive and proactive. Of these lands fell in love after seeing them passing on a moped: the villa with millstone, the typical farm of & #8217; Etna, It was on sale along with some hectare of land. Comes the decision to buy it and to live there, by reclassifying and cultivating. Then, the vision becomes more extensive and Guido decides to open a cottage: his l & #8217; intuition to bring together under a single angle of property #8217; & Etna, first fragmented, that in the eyes of the visitor appears today as a natural amphitheatre, opposite the famous "valle del Bove", observed by the volcano's plume always whitewashed. Monks, in my opinion is a great lesson in style on how we should do business in Sicily today: respecting the pride of an island, the past and the traditions, at the same time looking to the future, environmental sustainability, offering high quality services to a global clientele in an elegant but friendly atmosphere.
Guido, Despite the agricultural vocation, remains in effect an entrepreneur, concrete and careful. And he understands that there are two things you can rely on: the recovery of traditions and a high standard offer, look especially at an international audience. Sicily d & #8217; else, and above all the Etna, you are now stating in large tourist circuits. Here's the old orchard of the estate is recovered and has over sixty species of indigenous varieties of fruits, is an organic garden and built a chicken coop to have fresh eggs every day. Among the productions from report “Embarassment Aci”, cabbage Aci, a native variety that is Slow Food. Monks Black Earth work with an eye to sustainability and is in fact, one of the hotels eco-certified organic more in Sicily.
Continuing to acquire small portions of land where possible, Monks delle Terre Nere grows: the old farmhouses have been refurbished with care, reusing original materials to decorate the rooms and common areas and rooms, that in 2012 the opening were five, now become 20 (and they are destined to grow in the future), all immersed in an estate that includes 24 hectares, among vineyards, Woods, orange groves, orchards and small farms. And an infinity pool nestled in the midst of lavender. Nothing has changed all external #8217 &;: farm structures (deposits, stables, Carlsen) They have been renovated with great respect and have maintained the severity of stone walls, the terracotta tiles, the tanks for watering the animals. Inside, in large spaces and high ceilings, The luxury of simplicity: parquet planks, designer bathrooms, wonderful fireplaces to heat rooms, modern paintings, sometimes painted by his partner Guido, Ada Calabrese.
Monaci delle Terre Nere is also wine. Two hectares of vines, four ones in the process of new plant. The company produces three labels, under the guidance of Federico Curtaz, winemaker of international level, entered from 2016. The tip winery in the native varieties (Carricante from the Nerello Mascalese) and to get in wines the maximum expression of the territory of origin, thanks to the climate and the unique terroir that the Etna volcano can offer. In the old winery adjacent to the main house, with a ceiling height of vertiginous, There is a multifunctional space, ii party: reserved for breakfast in the morning, becomes cocktail bar in the evening. At the cocktail list works the expert Paolo Sanna. The result are compositions that are balanced between the great classics of mixology and new trends, always looking to local produce and seasonality. And here in the goblets are tangerines, lemons, Herb syrups, local olives brine, acacia honey, Trapani salt, but also the chai, cardamom and oriental perfumes. All it accompanied by original and delicious finger food.
At breakfast table overlooking the Convivium is transformed into the group of greedy: organic fruit at zero centimeter, Tarts, leavened products, Sicilian biscuits, marmalades and jams made in the farm with orchard fruit, but also of the delicious chicken coop eggs Monks, provolone Ragusa, ricotta and local cheeses with honey Nebrodi and centrifuged fruit and vegetables freshly prepared, according to the guest's choices.
One of the biggest bets for monks today is the restaurant. La Locanda Nerello was created inside the villa, renovated in wise way: not too new or too pink, It keeps the austere elegance of his years. Inside much light, a beautiful parquet, white furnishings and modern paintings. Old books on the tables. And a bathroom with a small round window looking out on the balcony and garden. On the table the taste of an authentic Sicily, made of local products carefully selected by the staff and directly by Guido, that of raw materials and the wine list has clear ideas: Flour mills of Castelvetrano Bridge, Parrini Fish (Acireale), Honey bee black Nebrodi Charles Amodeo, Castello d'Anjou – Sani farm flavors.
The estate is closed from 8th January 2018 for some work and will reopen the March 8, 2018: many news, especially in the kitchen, Where will a new team led by Emilia-Romagna chef, Richard Carter, that will face the great challenge of interpreting Sicily. Beyond the objective beauty of the place, the extreme care taken in restructuring and of the good principles that are the basis of the birth of Monaci delle Terre Nere, what I liked were the soul of Guido and the positive atmosphere in this corner of Etna. During my visit a tornado knocked down in the night several large trees causing damage to the company and structures. Guido, with great calm, he said: 'It could have been worse, Now let us strive to put them back up '.
(visited in January 2018)