Sicilian cuisine: color, flavor and tradition

Sicilian cuisine is closely intertwined with its historical, religious and cultural events. It is an art that has developed since ancient times and the various invasions has been enriched with new dishes and flavors. One of the most interesting notes to underline is certainly the fact that even today we prepare and serve recipes of ancient origin on the Sicilian tables. Food is something that the Sicilian people have in common. e are talking about a kitchen that is in any case complex: because of the influence it has undergone, but also current and above all exported to many foreign locations given to the phenomenon of emigration.

Today as yesterday, little has changed at the table

Today, much more than in the past, Sicilian cuisine lends itself, together with the production of wine, to real food and wine tours to discover aromas and flavors which has its roots in a very distant past but which overwhelmingly re-emerges. Very marked and contrasting colors and flavors characterize the Sicilian cuisine. We can call it a “scenographic” kitchen that strikes the eye first and immediately after the palate. Needless to say, that thanks to its mild climate, Sicily abounds with raw materials such as almonds and pistachios, oranges and lemons, olives. We often use aromatic plants such as oregano, mint, basil and rosemary for the preparation of daily dishes. A separate and no less important chapter is street food. Here in Sicily is a real and proper way of understanding the relationship with food.

Arancino: The King of the Street food

It is with the “Arancino” that it finds its maximum expression. A rice ball modeled in spherical or conical shape, breaded and fried. In the classic version has two variants: white, with butter, and red, with meat sauce and peas. As said, in Sicily we take food seriously; around the Arancino there is a debate that has always lasted: in Catania we call it “Arancino” (male and pyramidal in shape) and in Palermo they call it “Arancina” ( female and spherical in shape).

Ice Cream and Granita, sweet and fresh and it can’t be missed

Did you know that even the famous ice cream has Sicilian origins? In fact, during the Arab domination the sorbet was prepared, which was then called “sherbet”. The Arabs who dominated Sicily at that time used to mix fruit juice with Etna snow! We can therefore say that it is the ancestor of homemade ice cream. The “sherbet”, today called “Granita” is one of the typical breakfast in the Sicilian tradition. Accompanied by a soft brioche (sweet bread) is the Sicilian breakfast for excellence. It is a sorbet that is produced in various flavors. The most famous is certainly the almond one, but the flavors range from pistachio or chocolate to fruity flavors such as peach and strawberry, and finally the more traditional lemon flavor.

Tasting granita is a must!… then you also have cannoli, the Sicilian cassata and dishes based on fish and meat. There is something for all tastes!

Immerse yourself in this journey of flavors and tradition.

A paradise for every wine lover: the Etna area

Hundreds of wineries await you with their wines and their history

For those who enjoy a good wine and are visiting the Etna cannot fail to visit one of the many wineries that produce excellent wines in the Etna DOC territory (DOC means “Di Origine Controllata, lit. Denomination of Controlled Origin). In recent years, international attention has been given to this unique area which offers a variety of wines with deep historical roots and thousand-year-old vines. Visiting an Etna winery is not just a simple visit. You will immerse yourself in an atmosphere of the past … it is a leap into the past, in that Sicily that produced wine for family use, but which today has a place of honor in the international wine industry.

A terroir unique in the world gives to the Etna wine its mark

The Etna terroir is one of a kind. The soil is very permeable, rich in potassium and low in nitrogen and phosphorus. The vines are located at a height ranging from 300 to 900 meters, with peaks of 1100, 1200 meters depending on the slopes and their microclimates. The climate of these territories can be defined as temperate and varies according to the slope and therefore exposure. The north side is the rainiest, and the temperature ranges are very high, the vineyards and cellars of Randazzo, Castiglione di Sicilia and Linguaglossa are on the north side. The east side, on the other hand, is influenced by sea breezes and is also the earliest ripening zone, with good daily temperature excursions and temperatures with never too high peaks, as in the territories of Giarre, S. Venerina and Mascali. To the south, there is a later ripening environment due to the temperature changes that reach the highest peaks. But it is in the South West that the least rainy area is found, and with a lower humidity rate, which allows the vines of Nerello Mascalese to climb up to 1100 meters, and where the Carricante even reaches 1200 meters. The Etna wines are unique in the national and international panorama and are defined as “minerals”, savory, with strong acidity and great character.

The uniqueness of the autochthonous vines of Etna

Going instead to identify the most important vines of Etna in first place we undoubtedly find the Nerello Mascalese which is certainly the most important grape of the Etna area as it represents the production of Etna DOC wine for 80-100%. It is a very ancient native grape variety that is grown on the slopes of Etna between 350 and 1000 m.a.s.l. in the sapling shape, but today also in spurred cordon. Its name is to be attributed to the town of Mascali, which is located on the Ionian coast, with land mainly of volcanic sand. This grape ripens very late which is why the harvest is done in the second and third week of October. The wines obtained from this grape have a high alcohol content and very often destined for long aging even if the color remains drained and therefore not intense red. Its maximum expression of excellence is when it is combined with the “Nerello Cappuccio”. Considered the brother of “Mascalese”, the “Nerello Cappuccio” gives the wine its color and a spicy and fruity aroma. If produced in purity it is not indicated for long aging. An exceptional grape, to the point of being increasingly vinified in purity, given the indelible memories of its expressions. On Etna there is an important production of white wines, unique in their kind. Noteworthy as certainly the most important white grape variety of the Etna region is the “Carricante”. A grape that has been present on Etna for at least a millennium. Particularly suitable for this volcanic sand soil that holds up well at high altitudes. The characteristic notes of this wine are certainly the citrus and mineral hints. We are waiting for you to accompany you to discover the Etna wine surrounded by a lunch with local products for an unforgettable food and wine experience!

Visit Taormina, “the pearl of the Mediterranean”

A timeless beauty that fascinates the whole world

One of the most well-known and renowned centers and an unmissable stop is definitely Taormina. In relatively little space, if we want to say so, Taormina has an immense archaeological and cultural heritage. In addition to being an elegant and refined town, Taormina impresses with its privileged position on a cliff overlooking the sea from which you can admire the beaches and the breathtaking view.

Its narrow streets are picturesque and it is a real pleasure to stroll through the characteristic streets where time seems to stand still. There is a wide choice of restaurants and bars where you can taste typical Sicilian dishes or refresh yourself with an original “Granita”. Precisely for its beauty and uniqueness Taormina has also been chosen as a set for various films by international directors such as for example “Le grand bleu” by Luc Besson, “The little devil” (orig. Il Piccolo Diavolo) by Roberto Benigni, “The godfather-part III”; of Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen’s “The Goddess of Love” to name a few.

Greeks, Romans and Arabs; A mixture that still resists today

Taormina is a concentrate of artistic and historical beauties not to be missed. Founded in 358 BC by the Greeks, Taormina is part of the oldest Greek colonies in Sicily. In fact, the most important monument in the city dates back to this period, namely the “Teatro Antico” (Ancient Theater). Taking advantage of the hillside position, the theater offers a magnificent view of the Sicilian Ionian coast viewing until Calabria and mount Etna with its summit in the background.

Later the city passed under the domination of the Romans who elected it as the capital of eastern Sicily and therefore of strategic importance for the Eastern Roman Empire until the arrival of the Arab domination which lasted from 902 to 1079. After that there was the domination of the Normans and the Spanish.

Events, Concerts and a lot of history to discover

One of the main reasons is certainly the Greek Theater, the Romans used to organize summer performances such as gladiator games. Today, given its extraordinary and suggestive location, it hosts numerous events and concerts. From “Corso Umberto” the main street, where you can stop in one of the many bars or go shopping exclusive you will reach “Piazza Vittorio Emanuele” where you can visit the Museum of Sicilian Arts and Traditions. Reaching the church of “San Nicola” built in 1400 there is “Piazza Duomo”, the meeting place of Taormina where there is also beautiful Baroque fountain.

A special mention goes to the suggestive “Villa Comunale” of Taormina, you will be enchanted by the colors and the beautiful view that this place will give you. Lady Florence Trevelyan Cacciola, a Scottish noblewoman, passionate about botany, had it built specifically around 1884 by planting plants and flowers from all over the world.

What are you waiting for to visit this pearl of the Mediterranean?

Welcome to the largest active volcano in Europe: Mount Etna.

Birth and development of a wonder of the world

Symbol of the island that has always marked and still marks the life of the inhabitants of Etna. The Sicilian territory is characterized by its presence and its majesty. In what is now the surroundings of the city of Catania and which was once a gulf, Etna was born from underwater eruptions, about 500,000 years ago. Etna (also called “Mungibeddu” or “à Muntagna”, in Sicilian language) is the highest volcano in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013.

The altitude of Etna reaches today about 3,330 m.a.s.l, its diameter is approximately 45 km and occupies an area of ​​1,570 square kilometers. The volcanic soil has unique characteristics in the world in that around the craters, lava flows are noticeable: black if they are recent, gray when instead they date back to more distant times. The incessant activity of the volcano is testified by the aforementioned flows, occasionally interrupted by some newly built road. A multitude of eruptions occurred in ancient times but it was in 1669 that the most devastating eruption took place. A river of lava reached the sea, partly devastating the city of Catania.

Eruptions in recent times

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