An Enthusiast’s Introduction to Sicilian Food

19th December 2017
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We may be specialists of the ancient world first and foremost, but in all our years organising Sicily holidays, we’ve also harboured a great love for its delectable cuisine – dishes that have long benefited from the island’s unique blend of migrant cultures, not to mention its clement climate, which nurtures fresh produce galore.

For an authentic taste of Sicily while on tour, be sure to keep your eyes peeled – and your stomach primed – for some of these top traditional treats:

• Arancini – These moreish balls of rice come with various fillings, and are covered in breadcrumbs then fried. It is thought that they are a legacy of a ruling dynasty, the Kalbids, Muslim Arabs who dominated Sicily in the 10th-11th centuries
• Panelle – A street food popular in Palermo, these golden patties are made from chickpea flour and fried for a crunchy finish. To be eaten on their own or in a sandwich
• Pasta con le Sarde – Sardines are the star of this dish, which also features anchovies, onions and olive oil on a springy bed of egg pasta. An excellent way to sample the island’s fresh seafood
• Pesto alla Trapanese – This is the Sicilian version of pesto, an ancient dish introduced to the island by Genoese ships stopping at the western port of Trapani. Try it with the area’s unusual corkscrew-shaped pasta, Busiate
And for afters:
• Cannoli – The name of these gorgeous pastries derives from the Greek word kanna, or ‘reed’: fried pastry tubes packed with soft ricotta and icing sugar
Granita – A dessert of crushed ice, flavoured with syrups such as coffee and watermelon; a dish traditionally made out of ice brought down from Sicily’s mountainous areas. Have sweet treats ever sounded so intrepid?

A virtual tour isn’t quite enough for the taste buds, of course. If you want a true taste of Sicilian food, you’ll simply have to visit. Bring an empty stomach. But be warned: it won’t stay empty for long...

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