While there were very many architectural beauties on the six day tour of Sicily, I will write instead about the few of the many notable Sicilian foods that I found to be particularly memorable.
The first is a Sicilian orange salad (Insalata d’Arance) made of fresh navel oranges, blood red oranges (sometimes), red onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, fennel seeds, and oregano. Other recipes call for Sicilian olives, basil, and/or fennel. The one that I tasted in Ortigia did not include them, but the dish tasted delicious nonetheless. The dish was refreshing and light and a good side dish to the mussels, clams, and other fresh seafood that is delectable in Sicily.
One of my favorite dishes from Sicily is Spaghetti Tutto Mare, which directly translates to “spaghetti all sea.” That is exactly what it tastes like too. The recipe is actually fairly flexible based on what is fresh and available. Typically though, it contains calamari, shrimp, clams, mussels, octopus, dry white wine, garlic, parley, and crushed tomatoes.
The perfect ending to the Sicily tour was having traditional sweets in Catania. Sicily is renown for its sweets, and each city has its speciality. In Catania, the patron saint was tortured by having her breasts cut off. Today, she is memorialized in breast shaped marzipan treats that can be found in almost all of the pasticcerias in the city. However, I tasted a few other sweets from I Dolci di Nonne Vincenza. Located in heart of baroque Catania, I Dolci di Nonne Vincenza uses family recipes from the owner’s grandmother Vincenza. Supposedly, Vincenza learnt her recipes from baking with her aunt for wedding festivities. The shop is a beauty, in itself. It is furnished entirely in wooden furniture from the 1800s, and it uses the wooden cabinets to display the different variety of traditional sweets- from cannoli, almond-based sweets, pistacchio-based sweets, and honey based sweets. I sampled a ricotta filled pastry, a cannoli, and a selection of almond and pistacchio cookies. After buying the sweets, we hastily perched ourselves on the steps of a statue in the piazza San Placido to eat our sweets. It was a great experience to taste sweets in a place where pastries have a long-standing tradition and culture. Thus, we ended the Sicily trip on a very sweet note.
These sweets are so delicious that Jeffrey bought one for each of us to taste
Ciao a tutti,