The many flavours of Sicily

Sicily flag

A land of contrasts and colors, Sicily presents one of the largest and oldest collections of recipes in Italy, the result of an intense history and a past that has its roots in distant times.

Talking about Sicilian cuisine means looking at the past and retracing the exploits of the many civilizations that have inhabited and dominated this splendid land, leaving a great gastronomic heritage.

Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Jews, French, Spaniards: each has left its own trace giving life not to one, but to many Sicilian cuisines. For example, the cuisine of Catania is very different from that of Palermo, which, at the same time, is different from the cuisine of Ragusa.

The recipes of the daily cuisine of the poor are intertwined with aristocratic dishes and with those of the festivals, especially the religious ones, devoutly celebrated and respected in their traditions.

This is a cuisine in which the colors and flavours are surprising, in a harmonious union of sour-sweet-salty, sweet-greasy-aromatic, sweet-spicy-salty and sweet-bitter, with infinite nuances of taste.

This is a very fertile land that produces excellent food products.

When we talk about Sicily, their juicy and fragrant oranges come to mind, but we also think of  the smell of lemons, mandarins, cedars and bergamot. Expanses of citrus plantations open to the view of the traveler interrupt the landscape that, at times, becomes barren and arid. Oranges and lemons are omnipresent in the kitchen, both in sweet and savory dishes: orange or lemon salads, citrus pesto made with oranges, and candied oranges and citrons in pastry.

But there are not only citrus fruits: tomatoes (the famous ones from Pachino) and the ever-present aubergines are surely two fundamental ingredients of the Sicilian cuisine, which combined with pasta, create one of the most famous dishes: pasta alla Norma.

Vegetables are always present on the Sicilian table, but in the summer, caponata stands out, a triumph of flavours in a truly unique dish, where sour-salty-sweet blend magnificently.

From the sea

From the sea comes the long tradition of fishermen and traps, whose fine tuna is usually destined for the Japanese market. Fish is generally cooked on a grill, flavored with sauces such as salmoriglio or floured and fried, or alternatively, served in soups according to the tradition of Trapani.

Among the pasta with fish we must remember the pasta with sardines, while as a single dish we must certainly highlight the cous cous of Trapani.

From the hinterland

Meat coming especially from the hinterlands is always present during festivals. One of the most famous dishes is falsomagro, also called “rollé” due to its rolled shape, a roasted meat stuffed with eggs, a mixture of meats and cold cuts. In everyday life, meat is often minced and used to make roasted fried meatballs or spicy sauces, as a filling for timbales or vegetables, or served in combination with potato purée. White meat, including pork and sheep meat, is also very common in everyday cuisine.

Street food: how can we forget the arancine, the panelle, the sandwiches with meusa or sfincioni? Each street in Palermo or Catania, Syracuse or Trapani has its own flavours that perfume the streets and the beautiful markets, including the Vucciria of Palermo.

There are many good Sicilian desserts, a delight for the eyes and the palate. The Arabs, skilled pastry chefs, brought sugar to Sicily, teaching the Sicilians how to make cassata, cannoli, sorbets and melon, jasmine, cinnamon and must geli, and also many types of nougats including Cubbaita, with honey and sesame seeds.

If you are hungry for Sicily, you are in the right place. Visit the shop and enjoy the journey.

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