Italian food is well known for being one of the best cuisines in the world. Sicilian cuisine, however, has a number of differences when compared with the food on the mainland. Because of Sicily’s location and history, its food combines original Italian cuisine with Greek, French, Arab and Spanish influences. Here are eight foods you should definitely try when on a trip to Sicily.
Sicilians love their street food and you can’t get more classic than arancini, stuffed rice balls which are coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. There are many delicious fillings to choose from. The most commonly found arancini consist of ragu, a meat and tomato based sauce, and cheese. Other flavours that can be easily found are bechamel sauce, mushrooms, pistachios or aubergine.
Another street food favourite is pani ca meusa. This dish is absolutely delicious but may scare some people off. Translating as ‘bread with spleen’, it consists of sesame bread stuffed with chopped spleen and veal lungs. It is a speciality of the capital Palermo and is definitely worth it if you’re brave enough to try it.
Pane e panelle is a popular street food option in Palermo. These chickpea fritters are stuffed into a sesame bun and eaten like a sandwich. As well as being a street food snack, it works equally as well as an antipasto (starter) before a main meal.
If you want to try a more traditional Italian dish, try pasta alla Norma. Originating in Catania, this pasta dish is quintessential Sicilian food. Served with macaroni, the sauce is made from fried aubergine and tomato. The dish is then topped with ricotta salata cheese and basil.
Being an island, seafood features quite often on Sicilian menus. You can find a number of pasta dishes with seafood, and it’s especially recommended you try spaghetti ai ricci. This dish is cooked with sea urchin. It takes quite a while to prepare as the chef has to remove the spines and scoop out all the edible meat for use in the dish. It’s also quite expensive due to the fact that it takes about 15 sea urchins per portion of pasta. But this slightly salty dish is certainly worth every penny.
No trip to Italy is complete without sampling some of the pizza, and when in Sicily you can try their own version, sfincione. This tasty dish could easily be even more delicious than the mainland original. Made with a spongy dough, it is then topped with onions, breadcrumbs, caciocavallo cheese and olive oil.
Involtini siciliani, translated as ‘Sicilian rolls’, consist of thinly sliced veal with onions, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts which are rolled together and then served on toothpicks. You can also find them prepared with chicken or swordfish.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’ll absolutely love cassata siciliana. A round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueurs, it is then layered with ricotta cheese and then covered in almond paste. It is also studded with candied fruits and other goods.
Sicily has a lot to offer travellers and one of the things which makes any trip to the island great is its food. There are many culinary delights to try and tantalise your taste buds with.
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