What’s so special about Sicily anyway?
Sicily your perfect holiday
Is it the food? Is it the people? Is it the culture? Is it the history?
Yes, it is all of these things in that wonderful interaction of the slow way of Sicilian life, where little old nonnas (grandmothers) sit outside their front door of the house they have lived in for 50 years; where older men gather in the afternoon to play bocce in the town square; where the traditional ways of slow cooking are passed on from family to family. For a delightfully comic insight into understanding Sicilian people, take a look at this delightful article, “We are Palermo“. That’s Sicily your perfect holiday!
Take a look at some of my favourite experiences to be had when you holiday in Sicily – this beautiful part of the world that is so close to my heart.
So what is it about Sicilian food?
In a word it’s slow. Slow food cooking in Sicily captures the essence of each season. It’s the way that Sicilians select vegetables and fruit according to the time of the year, capturing the taste of Sicily, food bursting with flavour and freshness. It’s why the antipasti with seasonal capers are such a hit. It’s why the figs wrapped in prosciutto just melt in your mouth. And why the tomato sauce, made on local sun ripened tomatoes tastes so rich and looks so red. It’s where the art of making cheeses and salamis is passed from one generation to the next. If you can’t resist cheese, find out why it is so good in my latest blog Italian Cheeses.
Nowhere else I know makes pistachio paste and pistachio gelato like the Sicilians. It is that taste sensation when you savour a spoonful on your tongue, roll your eyes and close them for a moment in a sense of longing.
Arguably, one of the best ever lunches in Sicily I’ve ever had was at L’oste Scuro in Acireale on the east coast between Catania and Taormina. It started with figs wrapped in smoked salmon, lemon leaves with swordfish cakes, thin slices of octopus in lemon and virgin olive oil, bite-size swordfish sausages, zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. For secondi, we feasted upon fragrant seafood risotto and the finest ravioli filled with seafood with a flavoursome pistachio sauce. With the sweet smooth texture of cassata came dessert wines from Masala followed by shots of the digestive, Jagermeister and excellent espresso to round off the meal.
The Sicilian culture
Ah yes, now back to exploring that rich history and culture of this island with its Roman, Greek and Arabic history. Baroque architecture interplays with Norman and Gothic architecture and Sicily is where the 17th-century Roman palazzo, Villa Romana del Casale, decorated throughout with amazing mosaics is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Sicily, your perfect holiday
Travel with Dom to Sicily on a delicious food, wine and cooking tour where it’s all about great food and all the cultural and scenic sights of this amazing part of Italy.
And finally for some inspiration on the modern way to Pasta, here are a few of my favourite recipes to try.