Join us on our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary! Traveling in Sicily can be likened to a kid in a candy store. You’re constantly bedazzled by it’s fragrances, colors, and flavors.
And then, there is the landscape, so many hidden gems. I’m not sure if it was the rocky sea cliffs of Scopello’s Parco Dello Zingaro? Or the Bikini Girls of Villa Romana del Casale of Piazza Armerina in Enna (historical proof that women have been working out since the rise of the Roman Empire)? Perhaps it was the Baroque splendor of Noto, Ragusa, and Siracusa (entire cities forced to rebuild after a devastating earthquake in 1693). Most noteworthy, this island leaves a lasting impression. Finally, Sicily draws you in, and keeps you there.
While on our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary we leave no stone unturned, and no city untouched. Our pilgrimage includes stops in Palermo, Erice, San Vito Lo Capo, Trapani, Marsala, Agrigento, Castelvetrano, Catania, Massina, and Cefalu’, to name a few. Every city has its own story, recounted by the churches, temples, and villas left behind by the invasion of the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, and Spanish. Hence, Sicily is an island steep in diverse history, culture, and traditions.
Our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary begins with a cannoli. Yes, a cannoli, a heavenly pastry dessert filled with fresh, sweet Ricotta cheese. Well, whether you start the story with cannoli, couscous di peace, arancini, or sfincione, the point is, Sicily may as well be equated to gastronomic heaven.
Therefore, you can’t discuss this wonderful island without highlighting its gastronomic success and diversity. The gastronomy of Sicily boasts all of the regulars of Italian cuisine, such as fresh and local pasta, fruit, vegetables, and seafood. And then, it brings it to another level with its local ingredients. I am not sure if it’s the volcanic soil, the dry summers, or the short wet winters, yet there is something about Sicilian gastronomy that sets it above the rest. It seems like the invasion of so many cultures introduced this island to its gastronomic diversity. Most of all, undertones of citrus, cumin, and saffron, accompanied by almonds and pistachios, can be found in most dishes.
Couscous di Pesce
Next, our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary takes you to San Vito Lo Capo. You can’t leave without having a plate of Couscous di Pesce, preferably in September during the yearly festival that celebrates this culinary delight. This dish is brought together by the laborious and careful preparation of semola (which then becomes couscous), then combining a wide variety of local fish, mollusks, and crastacia. This dish is a most noteworthy culinary indulgence.
INGREDIENTS (though there are variations)
250 grams of pre-cooked couscous
1 kg of various kinds of fish broth (redfish, snapper, mullet, bream, shrimp, etc.).
Extra virgin olive oil
A knob of butter
1 clove garlic
2 stalks celery
A bunch of parsley
A bay leaf
3-4 ripe peeled diced tomatoes (or peeled ready)
50 grams of chopped almonds
Salt and Pepper To Taste
A pinch of paprika
Chili pepper if you like it hot!
Sicilian Street Food
While In Palermo we head to Osteria Ballard’. Satiate your palate with Involuting di Pesce Spada, a plate incorporating swordfish, eggplant, pecorino, basilica, pinoli, and raisins, among other tantalizing ingredients. I also suggest another Sicilian culinary specialty, Polpette di Sarde; you won’t be disappointed. Palermo is also home to Sicilian Street Food, showcasing tasty delights such as Sfincione (don’t call it pizza or bread, Sicilians take offense to it), Panelle (savory chick pea pancakes), or Arancini (baseball sized balls of rice filled with every filling imaginable). But the list is endless; you have to try the eggplant caponata, pasta con le Sarde or alla Norma. In conclusion, in Trapani I had an unforgettable plate of pasta with Pesto Trapans; we were sharing plates that night and I quickly regretted my decision – I wanted it all for myself.
Pass the Sicilian Wine, please!
Finally, what’s a meal without a great glass of Sicilian wine. 300 days of sunshine, long harvests, bio diversity, and island winds help create some of the most sublime wine Sicily has to offer. I found their white wines particularly sweet, and their reds, strong and bold. While Nero d’Avola dominates the market, Sicily is also going organic, offering customers a wide variety of organic Sicilian wines. A cold, crisp glass of Carjcanti , accompanied by a Couscous di Pesce on a warm summer evening, is pure gastronomic bliss.
Most of all, to top off our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary, perhaps the most delightful experience you will have is the Sicilians themselves. They are, beyond a doubt, some of the most welcoming, warm, helpful, and jovial people I have ever encountered throughout my travel adventures of Southern Europe. Given the devastating impact of the Mafia after World War II, I wasn’t expecting to meet such an optimistic and trusting culture. Instead, I found myself immersed in a diverse and relentless society that refuses to surrender to the “pizza”, breathtaking temples and mosaics, and an inspiring gastronomic tour de force. Welcome to Sicily. Welcome to our Sicilian gastronomic itinerary.
Sicilian gastronomic itinerary
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