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.