Regional foods - Sicily

Regional foods - Sicily

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Regional foods - Sicily
Popular Sicilian cakes called Cannoli - Photo: Stefano Mortellaro

It is difficult to know where to begin when describing the food of Sicily, which is arguably the best in Italy. Although Italian based, the food is greatly influenzed by all who have inhabited the island over the centuries and it has traces of Spanish, Greek and Arab cuisine.

Sicily produces vast amounts of grain, olives, grapes, almonds, pistachios, figs, artichokes, lemons and vegetables. They also produce carob, capers and manna but on a much smaller scale.

Fish such as tuna, sea bream, sea bass and swordfish are eaten and couscous is a popular accompianment. Due to the volacanic richness of the soil, their produce is abundant and large. For this reason very little meat is eaten here and most of their best known dishes are vegetarian. One of the most well known vegetarian dishes is Pasta alla Norma which is pasta covered with a fresh tomato sauce, sprinked with cheese and topped with slices of fried aubergine. The cheese Ricotta Salate MUST be used, nothing else can be substituted to give this dish its mouthwatering flavour.

Ice cream was invented here and there is nowhere else that can produce it in quite the same way.

Sicilian cakes and pastries are also in a class of their own and Cassata (a rich sweet cake from Palermo) can now be bought in many places around the world. On Modica they even have a pastry, know as 'Mpanatigghi' which is made from a mixture of meat and chocolate!

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