THE SICILIAN FOOD EXPERIENCE
When in Sicily you will notice that every flavor and scent around you is a matter of food tasting and colors. From street food markets to private cooking classes, Sicilian food is strongly influenced by its ancient history. The impact the Greeks left included flatbreads that would later develop into the well-loved focaccia loaves. Sfincioni are thick focacce topped with tomato and cheese. Greeks also taught the Sicilians to use snow from the mountain tops for iced desserts flavored with local fruits and honey. Other influences came from the Arabs that brought sugar and taught the Sicilians to make extravagant dessert dishes with it. Today, a popular fried dough called crispeddi is enjoyed sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, though a savory version may also be served with anchovy and wild fennel to flavor the pastry. They also began what would turn into a dynasty of pasta makers. The Arabs also used tuna and swordfish in cùscusu. It uses a variety of fish, prepared with herbs and tomatoes and served over a bed of hand rolled balls of semolina wheat called couscous. Other times, swordfish is cooked with pine nuts, raisins, olives, herbs and tomatoes. Grilled swordfish is also popular stuffed with cheese and vegetables.
Most of the pasta is made from semolina wheat and can take many forms. Zite al pomodoro e tonno is made from short pasta tubes and served with a fresh tomato and tuna sauce. The dumplings called gnocculli semolino gnocchi are topped with a creamy ricotta and meat sauce. The author of La Norma, an Italian opera, so fond of pasta con la Norma spaghetti that it was named after him. This luscious dish is topped by a tomato and eggplant sauce. The most famous food of all Sicilian recipes is pasta con le sarde, generally topped with sauce of fresh sardines and anchovies and sometimes seasoned with a selection of nuts, herbs, raisins and onions.
Other kinds of starchy food are Arancini di riso fried balls of cooked rice with a filling made of chopped meat, tomatoes, cheese & peas. Vegetables are enjoyed in Sicilian cooking, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes ecc. In melanzane alla siciliana, eggplant slices are deep fried, then topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce and baked. Carciofi ripieni is a dish of baked artichokes stuffed with cheese, sardines and sausages. Caponata, a luscious stew of eggplant, tomatoes, capers, olives and onions, is served as a salad or appetizer. Peperonata stews bell peppers and tomatoes with onion and olives. Sicilian recipes are famous for both their olive oil and capers. These ingredients complement the fresh sea foods that are featured in many Sicilian recipes. Fresh tuna and swordfish are marinated and served stewed, roasted or grilled as steaks. This region’s citrus, known as arancia rossa di Sicilia, are prized around the worlds, figs and table grapes are also famous for their lush juicy sweetness and flavor. Many of these fruits are dried and used along with nuts in the desserts that Sicilian cooking is famous for. The elaborate cassata is a sponge cake that is layered with a maraschino flavored ricotta frosting and candied fruits and nuts. Orange peels are candied and cannoli flavors sweetened ricotta with the candied fruits, then stuffs the smooth mixture into fried pastry tubes. Almonds are ground and sweetened to make marzipan and pasta reale in Sicilian recipes. Locally grown pistachio nuts are often enjoyed in ice cream.
PRIVATE VILLA COOKING CLASS IN TAORMINA
A Sicily cooking class is more than just cooking, it’s an experience through all stages of our food culture. The love affair with cuisine is overall one of the main value of our families history. The first question a “Mamma” makes in the morning is: What do we eat today? You’ll be welcomed by Luisa in a lovely private villa in the top of Taormina. It will be a passionate Sicilian cooking class with basic menu of traditional Sicilian cuisine: Caponata, Pasta alla norma, Parmiggiana. We’ll present all the dishes within the story strongly connected with our territory and myth. Think about returning at home with this precious receipts in your suitcase and recreate your private Sicilian atmosphere to remember those special moments you enjoyed. The Sicilian cooking class is perfect for your family, friends and why not your couple by learning to stay together tasting delicious meals you’ve prepared with love.
Conditions: This cooking is private for minimum 4 participants. The villa is located 1km far from the center of Taormina, we organise private transfer with pick up from your location. Timing will be from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Use the contact form for more information and booking. Please indicate any dietary necessities or alergies.
GUIDED TOUR OF TAORMINA WITH STREET FOOD LUNCH
Choose to visit Taormina with a different culinary experience guided by our lovely Rosa.
You will meet her in Porta Messina to start this indigenous walk of Taormina. She will make you imagine the story of this important Sicilian spot immersed in the bougainvilleas colourful bushes, the ancient Greek Roman Theater till the first culinary stop for a delicious typical Sicilian breakfast to refresh your senses. The love affair between Granita and sicilians is immense. This typical sweet freezing experience come from the arab period in Sicily, when the Monsu (court chef of Palermo) used the snow from Etna and topped it with fresh lemon juice. Today you can taste many flavours from strawberry to almond, pistachoes, watermelon and so on. What is characteristic is the brioche with tuppo that you must “inzuppare” in this freezing mixture.
After this first taste you will continue your walk around Via Umberto, the main street of Taormina between ancient greek period and medieval atmosphere. The piazza Duomo reveals the gorgeous fountain with the city simbol and the particular medieval Cathedral. From this site we walk to our next culinary spot. One of the most ancient bakery of the town. You will be overwhelmed by the impressive offer of Arancini, pizzas and all sort of stuffed pastry with miscellanous ingredients characteristic of our street food tradition.
Conditions: This is a private guided tour. Timing from 9.00am to 2.00pm. Available languages English, French, German. Use the contact form for more information and booking. Please indicate any dietary necessities or alergies.
GUIDED TOUR OF CATANIA WITH STREET FOOD MARKET AND LUNCH
Visiting Catania and its colourful fish market is a must do while in Sicily. You will meet our Guide in the awesome scenery of Piazza Duomo to start your visit with a taste of Granita to the renewed pasticceria Prestipino sitting on the wide scenery of this important square of Catania. In front the Obelisque of the Liotru fountain and the out standing Cathedral from norman origins and the most beautiful Baroque decorations. Afetr visiting the cathedral you will immerse in the Pescheria, a picturesque exeperience between smells and collours, shouting fish vendors and local doing their grocery with fresh ingredients coming from all around the area of Catania. Once inside this intricated mixing of Sicilian life you enjoy a delightful street food tasting with some of the most renewed local delicacies from arancini to special fried fish immersed in a unique atmosphere. Then we enter in the heart of the Baroque from Via Crociferi to the Monastery of Benedictine till the ancient Roman Amphitheater and the elegant Via Etnea the heart of Catania where we can restore in the magnificent Villa Bellini dedicated to homonymous composer.
Conditions: This is a private guided tour. We can organise private transfer from your location till Catania and return. Timing from 9.00am to 1.30pm. Available languages English, French, German. Use the contact form for more information and booking. Please indicate any dietary necessities or alergies.
PRIVATE HOUSE COOKING CLASS IN SYRACUSE
This cooking starts with a walk inside the local street market of Ortigia just besides the ruins of the first greek temple dedicated to Apollo. You’ll be welcomed by Flora, a smiling and solar Sicilian woman whose passion for the cuisine is unbelievable. She will lead you inside the market and make you taste all those flavours that makes our tasty dishes. Then you will reach her private home right in the heart of Ortigia with a stunning sea view front. Let’s start this passionate cooking class with basic menu of traditional Sicilian cuisine. Flora will present all the dishes within the story strongly connected with our territory and myth. Think about returning at home with this precious receipts in your suitcase and recreate your private Sicilian atmosphere to remember those special moments you enjoyed. The Sicilian cooking class is perfect for your family, friends and why not your couple by learning to stay together tasting delicious meals you’ve prepared with love.
Conditions: This cooking is private for minimum 4 participants. Timing will be from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Use the contact form for more information and booking. Please indicate any dietary necessities or alergies