Friday, January 16, 2015

Marsala: Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year, a fortified wine and a town in Sicily

Marsala, Pantone's 2015 color of the year

Marsala. It's THE current buzz word among fashion and interior designers, make-up artists and graphic designers. Some love it and some hate it. Yet, chances are that you'll see a lot of this terracotta red shade in 2015. It's going to be on the catwalks of Paris, the wall of your trendy friend's apartment and on fashionistas' lips. Marsala is Pantone's Color of the Year.

To kick off my series of posts about our recent vacation in Sicily, I thought I would start with a short one about Marsala. This charming town located on the island's windswept western coast is famous for its glistening white marble streets, stately baroque buildings and fortified wine.

John Woodhouse, an English soap merchant, is credited with introducing this wine fortified with a dash of brandy or pure alcohol to 18th-century England. The wine's success was assured when the British Navy gave it to the country's sailors as an alternative to port. At the time, a sailor's daily ration was one glass of wine per day. When Lord Nelson placed a huge order in 1800, Marsala became a truly hot commodity.

We spent a wonderful evening sampling a variety of local vintages and listening to live jazz music at the Enoteca della Strada del Vino di Marsala. Sponsored by the association of Marsala wine merchants, this atmospheric wine bar also proved to be a great classroom. Under the careful tutelage of two sommeliers, we discovered that Marsala is so much more than a cooking wine traditionally used for Chicken Marsala. It was while we were admiring the rich earthy hues and nuanced flavor of our Caro Maestro that the charming Costa Rican waitress revealed how proud the winemakers are that Marsala is Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year. Salute to their success!

Interesting little tidbit about the origins of the name Marsala -- When the town was conquered by the Arabs in AD 830, they gave the settlement its current name, Marsa Allah (Port of God).

Marsala's elegant Piazza Della Repubblica and the Chiesa Madre di Marsala 
Marble streets of Marsala

4 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bridget, Sicily turned out to be a great destination. I hope that you're able to visit it sometime! I've been having problems with my laptop but it's cooperating today. I was finally able to get started on my posts.

      Delete
  2. Great posts. Am looking forward to this series, Mary Kay, as Sicily is still on the list of winter destinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're going to really enjoy Sicily, Rosemary! I just finished a post where I copied and pasted all the pre-trip recommendations that Stéphane and I received. I also plan to write some posts about the places that we visited. Please let me know if you need any specific information.

      Delete