sicily

Exodus Edits: Top 5 bites to taste in Sicily

It’s no secret that Italy is synonymous with great food. But, as with most countries, moving between regions can reveal culinary differences that tell stories about a place’s history. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in gorgeous Sicily - the Mediterranean’s largest island. Touched by the influences of French and Arab settlersand woven with ideas from Swabians, French, and Spanish (plus a few embellishments from its Greek neighbours thrown in for good measure), the food in Sicily is as interesting as it is varied. It’s almost always created with seasonal, local, and fresh ingredients. There are dozens of dishes to try, but we’ve picked five that you shouldn’t leave without trying.  

 

1. Hot and crunchy crocchè  

Wander the street food market of La Cala in Palermo, and you’ll find plenty of food vendors rustling up fresh crocchè and rascatura. This is Sicily’s version of a French potato croquette, introduced to the island in the 17th century.  It’s a deep-fried snack served hot before the crispy coating loses its crunch with a soft and oh-so-satisfying interior. The locals make rascatura versions from the leftovers of another Sicilian staple, chickpea flour fritters known as pane e panelle  

2. Creamy and flavourful gelato 

gelato

While there’s a little jostling about exactly where gelato was first created, there’s no doubt that Sicily serves some of the world’s finest. This frozen treat is different from ice cream and is known for its dense and creamy texture that’s traditionally spread, not scooped. Flavour-wise, you can’t go wrong with a gelato cioccolato or gelato alla vangilia. But some gelateria’s experiment with spices and more unusual ingredients if you’re in the mood for something more exotic.   

3. Savoury and spongy sfincione 

pizza

Sicilian pizza is more like a focaccia than what you’ll recognise as a pizza. Street food chefs finish off an oven-baked flatbread with breadcrumbs, anchovies, and local cheeses. Around Palermo, three-wheeled Piaggio Ape food trucks wind their way around the streets serving sfincione. Although foodie types speak highly of the variety served in classic Palermo cafes.   

4. Crispy and velvety cannoli  

cannoli

Crispy fried pastry tubes, typically flavoured with cocoa and local Marsala wine, are filled with ricotta cheese for a decadent Sicily-style sweet treat. It’s thought that this street food speciality originated way back around the 9th century when Sicily was under Arab rule. On our Street Food & Sunshine in Sicily trip, some of the best cannoli is found in pretty Taormina, along with other sweet treats and pastries.   

5. Colourful and piquant caponata

caponata

There’s no single way to prepare Sicily’s favourite vegetable dish, caponata. Most families have their own version that’s handed down the generations. Ultimately, each consists of a colourful mix of tomato, aubergine, peppers, and olives, perhaps with a few pine nuts or almonds. The veg is sauteed then simmered in vinegar, and the result is a flavoursome sweet and sour combo.  

 

Our Street Food and Sunshine trip to Sicily has plenty of opportunities to discover the culinary diversity of the island, from featuring on pasta chî sàrdi in Palermo to pasta alla Norma in Cefalù and granita and cannoli in Taormina. Delizioso. 

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