Sicilian Food and Wine
Sicilian cuisine has probably been influenced by other cultures more than most regions of Italy due to its numerous invasions and subsequent colonisations over the centuries. There are so many exciting dishes to choose from but Sicily is especially expert at creating tasty fish dishes: there are numerous varieties of fish salads and many different ways to sample "masculini" (very young little fish) why not try them served with peas in the famous "pasta alla nocca"; another popular fish dish is "stocco alla messinese" which is famous for its intense sauce made from concentrated tomato sauce and chillies; a strong red wine is recommended as an accompaniment.
Of course pasta dishes feature strongly in Sicilian cooking "pasta alla Norma" being one of the most popular; sliced aubergines fried to they are golden are mixed with fresh basil and salty ricotta cheese to create this unique dish so good that visitors will want to bring the recipe back home. Sicilians are also partial to risottos; typical to the Etna region are those made with porcini mushrooms or pistachio.
Another mouth-watering creation is the famous Sicilian "sasizza"; usually these sausages are stuffed with tomatoes and cheese or fennel but indeed anything can be added according to the tastes being catered for. Often these sausages are cooked outside on the barbecue ; choice cuts of lamb are laced up with spring onions and roasted. Other savoury delights not yet mentioned are folded pizzas, caponatine, crispelle and the world famous rice-balls (arancini) all of which ought to be sampled without a doubt!
For those visitors with a sweet tooth there are no limits to Sicily's offerings of sweet delights: the shelves of its patisseries are packed with dainty pastries with a vast range of sweet fillings decorated presented in such a way that it is virtually impossible to resist not trying at least one or two maybe? "Frutta di pasta reale" are made from a type of marzipan which is moulded into the shapes of different fruits and coloured appropriately; "Torroncini" is a type of nougat with pieces of almond mixed through and usually covered with chocolate, pistachio or an orange flavoured coating; Granita is like a cross between Ice cream and sorbet, the Sicilians eat it for breakfast in summer along with brioche or indeed at any time of the day.
Finally, the greatest compliments must be given to the wines produced on this Mediterranean Island. Its sunny climate and fertile soil, rich in minerals, create wines with their own unique taste. The Etna region produces both reds and whites. The highest grade wines are produced in Vittoria near Ragusa and in Pachino near Syracuse and for those wishing to sample what the aristocracy are drinking they ought to try Donnafugata or Salaparuta and so the list goes on... ENJOY the taste of Sicily!