Planeta Estate’s La Foresteria opens their 2023 season and announces some important new ventures 

The new season begins for Planeta Estate’s La Foresteria, the Planeta family’s Wine Resort on the coast of south-western Sicily, a few kilometres from the Selinunte temples and Alberto Burri’s Cretto at Gibellina, a symbolic place for Sicilian culture.

The Resort has 14 suites and a restaurant surrounded by a luxuriant garden and endless rows of vineyard. La Foresteria – awarded the ‘Ecoluxury Award in 2022 – is the best expression of Planeta Estate’s hospitality model, representing for guests the small continent of Sicily from Palermo to Menfi, from Vittoria to Noto and from Etna to Capo Milazzo, always in the most original style and with the greatest regard for the territory.

At Menfi itself, named the Italian City of Wine 2023, Francesca Planeta, together with her family, directs La Foresteria, combining the spirit of place and a wealth of artefacts acquired during long journeys around the world.

‘Over the years our family has made important contributions to tourism rendering Menfi a sought after objective for lovers of nature, wine, the sea and good food’ declared Francesca Planeta, manager of Planeta Estate. ‘We offer our guests opportunities to discover a very varied environment which, from the sea to the inland mountains, is marked by our family estates and farms, beautiful places and countryside which is enhanced by agricultural production’.

Planeta hospitality is also expressed by the associated products and projects undertaken by the family, aimed at giving expression to the culture and beauty of Sicily as interpreted by Planeta’s taste and creativity.

This year the new line of Courtesy Beauty Planeta has been launched, based on the extra-virgin olive oil produced at Capparrina. This is a set of products reflecting the sustainable spirit of the Resort; the packaging is 100% recyclable and without parabens, artificial fragrances or colouring. The line includes six beauty products expressing Planeta Estate’s wish to conserve and appreciate the landscape and the biodiversity of the extraordinary natural ecosystem of the Sicilian Mediterranean macchia, particularly that of the Menfi coast.

In June 2023 Insula, Planeta Estate’s exclusive Beach Club, a short distance from La Foresteria, will be inaugurated. Insula will be a true oasis of peace and relaxation on the white dunes of Menfi’s beach; an independent undertaking but fully in line with the identity and values of the PLANETA brand.

The La Foresteria restaurant and the cooking of Angelo Pumilia.

Planeta hospitality has always and also been characterised by food and the family recipes handed down through the generations, that in dialogue with the creative and innovative ideas of Chef Angelo Pumilia, have enhanced the Restaurant of La Foresteria, awarded ‘tre cappelli’ in L’Espresso’s guide ‘I ristoranti e i vini d’Italia’. A unique place looking over the sea while surrounded by vines and immersed in aromatic shrubs of herbs, the restaurant under the direction of Angelo, offers a contemporary version of the Planeta family’s Sicilian cooking together with local tradition.

The cookery concept is reflected in the selection and use of raw materials, creating a synergistic and symbiotic exchange between the territory and the Restaurant. The greater part of the vegetables employed are provided by the Orto della Gurra, Planeta’s organic farm not far from La Foresteria where artichokes, beans, tomatoes, aubergines and various experimental varieties are cultivated. This exchange also involves Serra Ferdinandea, the winemaking project arising for the common wish and vision of the two Sicilian and French families, Planeta and Oddo, which provides a very aromatic flour from a rare variety of chickpea, ‘Sultano’, and an excellent honey from Sicilian black bees with which Chef Pumilia prepares a new dessert on the menu ‘Miele’, an intense ‘ Honey ice cream with sea buckthorn and biscuits with capers and pollen’.

An established relationship with small and reputable local producers also daily provides the best freshly-caught fish from the nearby sea and other products, from stone-milled organic flours from Castelvetrano to selected local meat.

Restaurant La Foresteria offers two tasting menus: ‘Casa Planeta’, using the old family recipes consisting of 5 iconic dishes, and ‘Primavera’ which varies seasonally experimenting with new flavours and textures through 5 dishes originating in the area and expressing its influences.  The à la carte menu completes the mosaic of La Foresteria’s proposals. Chef Angelo Pumilia declares, ‘My cooking is based on the concept of ‘ultraterritorialità’. Together with the team we are based on the study of eco-systems and the countryside surrounding La Foresteria, we like to enrich our recipes with wild indigenous ingredients which surround the estate, to make every guest’s experience truly unique. Menfi is a crossroads of different cultures; we are nearer Tunis than Messina, and here we are influenced by the Arab, Spanish, French and oriental worlds.

For every dish of La Foresteria, sweet or savoury, Planeta’s organic extra-virgin olive oil is used. 100,000 litres of this olive oil is produced each year on the 150 hectares of the Capparrina olive grove, owned by the Planeta family for more than 200 years and today centred on a project to conserve its flora and fauna by concentrating on the extension and safeguarding of the Mediterranean macchia and the preservation of threatened animal species.

To complete the gastronomic experience, La Foresteria offers an exceptional wine list consisting of two sections; ‘Repertorio 1694’, the most complete chronological collection of Planeta’s production at Menfi, Sambuca di Sicilia, Vittoria, Noto, Etna and Capo Milazzo, and ‘I vini degli amici’, a selection of Sicilian, Italian and international wines from excellent producers, having become friends of the Planeta family over the years.