Sicilian food is a sort of masterpiece. It’s definitely one of the most excellent peculiarities to describe this island that enchants more and more tourists every year. So, what are the traditional dishes you have to taste at least once during your holiday? Follow Sicilian Secrets to discover a delicious itinerary.
Tasty Sicily! Nobody can visit this island without trying the most typical dishes. Sicilian food is a sort of religion, and when abroad they impersonate Sicilians saying ‘Mangia, mangia’ (Eat, eat), maybe it’s not so far from reality. What are the unmissable recipes you have to put on your wish list to fully enjoy your holiday? Here is our advice.
Sardines pasta (Pasta con le sarde): history and tradition
This is one of the classic Sicilian delicacies, the perfect main course to literally taste the real flavor of the island. The history behind this dish begins in the 9th century A.D., moreover, because of its ingredients, it represents a sort of thin line between Arab and Italian cuisine. Pasta, saffron, wild fennel, raisin, pine nuts…and sardines of course! In the past this fish was considered cheap and easy to find, so it was associated with pretty poor meals. Nowadays, this pasta is one of the best Sicilian foods, often made for special occasions such as Easter.
Street food: bread and panelle (pane e panelle)
Sicilian street food is part of the identity of the island. You can stop in a street market in Palermo and fall in love with the fried food (because everybody knows that fried is always good!). But pane e panelle is something unique. Panelle are Sicilian fritters made from chickpea flour and generally are put in a sandwich, sometimes even with fries (if you are an American maybe you’ll prefer this version) or with the so called crocchè, basically some small potato croquettes.
Parmigiana, the original Sicilian food
Even if you can find all around the world some different variants such as the famous Chicken Parmigiana and Veal Parmigiana, the original one is made in Sicily. Eggplant is the main ingredient together with tomato sauce, cheese and basil. Sometimes there’s someone who will add some eggs…not bad but definitely heavier! This name comes from the city of Parma in northern Italy, but according to another theory, Parmigiana is an alteration of the Sicilian word parmiciana. It refers to the slats of wood in a window shutter that partially overlap in the same manner as the slices of aubergines in this old (but always gold!) delicacy.
Cannolo, the sweet side of Sicily
Sicilian food is also sweet! No better dessert – in every season – than cannoli. In this case, you can find them in other parts of Italy and abroad, but it’s pretty difficult that a cannolo bought in Little Italy in New York has the same taste of a cannolo that is 100% made in Sicily. The biggest difference is the milk used to make ricotta: the real cannolo is made with sheep milk ricotta! Its name means ‘little tube’, as you can easily imagine by the shape. In the past, it was typical for Carnival and maybe considered a symbol of fertility. If you want to taste the best cannolo ever, go to Piana degli Albanesi and don’t be shy, ask for a cannolo express!
If you are interested in learning more about Sicilian food and creating your personal menu, follow Sicilian Secrets even on Facebook to discover new recipes and get some hints for your next holiday.