Cook your way round Italy’s Aeolian islands

The volcanic Aeolian islands, off Sicily, are rich with the raw ingredients for delicious local specialities – though the squid often play hard to get

Perhaps it was something about the light that morning on Vulcano. Or maybe the sound of goat bells tinkling across the hillside. Something made up Laura Panico’s mind. She had been here all summer visiting friends. It was too lovely to leave to go back to Britain. But how was she to earn a living?

Five years on, Laura has a business bringing visitors to Vulcano – one of the Aeolian islands, a confetti trail of volcanic outcrops off the north coast of Sicily. Her guests spend a week learning to cook the way her friend’s grandmother does, pulling squid from the sea and cooking them on the boat, and savouring the unique aroma the volcanic soils give to the local wines.

Whoosh! A slithering squid flops over the side, almost landing on my foot

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