The big archway room of the Eremo, antique refectory of the knights of Malta in XVI century is the historic “stage” of the Don Eusebio restaurant.
Reredos of XVI century, antique prints and antique Sicilian coffers complete the precious furniture of this extraordinary room with big glass windows overlooking the centuries-old olive trees of the park.
The cuisine of the Eremo is based on the refined recipes of the Aristocracy of the Hyblean Highlands and on the products of the properties managed by the Eremo landowner that with the ancient crop rotation techniques has recovered the ancient grain with stone ground flour, wild vegetables, garden products, the breeding of Black Sicilian Pigs and Sicilian hens with white eggs that you can taste thanks to our Eggs Menu.
Our thematic menus divided according to the cultural production of the territory in Masseria di Mare, Masseria di Terra and Antique Gourmet allows our guest to experience an enogastronomic journey discovering the real Mediterranean cuisine and the very ancient recipes that take its origins from thousands cultural influences of this extraordinary island.
Eremo della Giubiliana is an important example of historic farmhouse accommodation and still exists on the original properties of more than sixty hectares according to the ancient cultural techniques and organic techniques, the organic products are used in large part in our kitchen starting from the hard wheat flour which is the basis for extraordinary cakes and pasta, while the beans are still used to fatten cattle and Nebrodi black pigs.
Our guests will immediately guess the great quality of these raw materials, awareness of the many flavours and cultural influences in our recipes, the result of incredible layers of history that made great the cuisine of this fascinating island.
The good cuisine of ancient traditions such as that at Eremo della Giubiliana is centered basically on local ingredients.The Hyblean highland Farms are the historical areas of this stunning production, which is why we have our menu titled “La Masseria di Terra” (The Colonial Farm Menu), distinct from that of the sea, whose historical motivation is illustrated below in the reference text. Place of production and not only, “La Masseria” consisted of a large piece of land (usually at least thirty acres), that since the ‘500 had been divided into “closed areas” bounded by the famous stone walls (muri a secco) that mark our landscape. Each “closed area” identifies a specific kind of production and a different quality of productive land that is often highlighted in the name by which the area was called by the peasants, for example. Vignale (suitable for vineyard), cicerata (excellent production of chickpeas), Favata, etc…
This almost obsessive search for the “personality” of each productive piece of land was reflected in the virtuous cycle of crop rotation, which usually began after a good fertilization of the land made basically with an enriching culture of vegetables (beans), followed the next year with the culture of wheat (perhaps in Sicily the best on the world) and still followed by at least two years of earth resting period.
On this well nurtured grassland, rich with more than one-hundred and thirty wild greens species, grows the native born bovine race called “la modicana” (from Modica city), whose milk, high in fat, allowed the production of the famous “caciocavallo” cheese, today called “Ragusano D.O.P.”.
Vegetables and dried beans were then particularly crucial for the fattening of animals for meat, which gave a unique texture and an aftertaste; cattle, sheep, hogs, but also the famous black hog, once scattered all over Sicily and today relegated solely to the Nebrodi area and from which they originate old products such as lard, gelatin and dried sausage. The enclave of productive and self-sufficient “farm” was completed by farmyard animals bread for eggs, wheat and barley.
The gardens then, enclosed by high walls and very similar to the oases of North Africa, also in organizing cultural essences and irrigation system, were the only units of intensive cultivation and produced fruits and vegetables, wine and oil.
Farms whose territories were lapped by the sea had productive singularities. From May to the late October (the so-called time “Pirates”) peasants changed activities and worked as fishermen pushing small boats at sea, to catch mainly the blue fish, sardines, mackerel and skipjack; they were then salted and stored in small wooden barrels and were an important part of the payment in nature for the land aristocracy, precisely in the form of “carnagghi”. Cheese, meat and eggs were integrated in the “Farms of the Sea” from salted fish or oil, but also from fresh fish caught along the coast, small but very tasty.
Farms that were in the parts of the coast covered by the passing of large tuna were transformed specializing in fishing and processing of fine fish, traps, of which a striking example from the point of view of architecture is that of “Bruno di Belmonte” on Portopalo. Beyond the Tonnare however, the “Sea Famrs” were a hybrid production and one of the reasons why in the Hyblean area has never developed a “mariner” worthy of the name and the fish market appeared in territory only at the end of the century around the “harbous” of Pozzallo and Marina.
The widespread presence of octopus, squid, mullet, redfish, snapper, bream and fish preserved in the ancient Hyblean aristocratic recipes is mainly due to the existence (strange but true for Mediterranean territory) of the farms of the sea, and makes them reference in our kitchen, offering guests extraordinary fish caught mainly near the coast in a small craft and boats, just like in the past. Guests will discover the taste of small fish of the Mediterranean Iblea coast and the refined simplicity of the recipes from the “farm of the sea”.
The Eremo wine cellar is a very particular place as it has been realized in a Medieval crypt located under the ancient church of the knights of the Order of St John.
The room of great charme with the support arcades and the ancient stone floor is characterized by a great constant thermal inertia that it is perfect for the maintenance and aging of our wines.
Furnished with a big fratino table in chestnut (18th cent.), the crypt is available for our guests for intimate dinners and tasting of our products paired with the best Sicilian wines.
The viticulture already existed in the Isle from the second millennium b.C before the Greek colonists introduced the perfection of the cultivation techniques and the quality improvement of the vines and it continued during Roman times producing well-known wines such as Mamertino, Tauromenio, Inycinio and the famous wines of Etna.
In the Middle Age, Sicilian wines were exported by Pisan and Genoese merchants making the wines of Etna, Trapani, Syracuse and the deep red wines of Ragusa famous such as Nero d’Avola and Marsala.
Since the ‘50s Sicily, that was usually to produce blending wines for Italian and foreign cellars above all French cellars, started focusing on quality by implanting non-native vines like for example Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sirah and Chardonnay, but above all since the ‘80s native vines are rediscovered and the production of high quality wines started again: Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Perricone, Cerasuolo, Inzolia, Grillo, Catarratto, Etna wines: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante. Smaller islands wines: Moscato di Pantelleria and passiti such as Malvasia of Lipari and a great variety of small productions and minor varieties.
Our ricotta is an extraordinary product that has its origins in the ancient world, just as the processing method has remained unchanged over the centuries.
Based on the new meat culture, less meat but better quality, the Eremo della Giubiliana has developed a project to try to achieve the ancient flavours of homemade sausage and artisanal pork from the ancient Sicilian tradition.
It is with great pleasure that we offer our kind guests this 'Egg Menu', the fruit of our passion for eggs, an extraordinary and universal food, and for our Sicilian hens, an ancient breed that is now very rare and on the verge of extinction and which we introduced a few years ago to the Tenuta Giubiliana, where they are free to roam on an area of more than one hectare (in the old rabbit hutch that we invite you to visit).