Sicily is famous for their palate delights. Today’s post shows you my main food discoveries in Sicily, from arancino in Palermo and cannolo in Cefalù to horse meat in Catania and chocolate in Modica… Sicily is a food heaven. Maybe only Vegetarians or Vegans might find it a little more difficult to taste traditional Sicily.
You can also watch video impressions of my food explorations on my Instagram account.
I started my two-week trip to Sicily with one-day solo in Palermo (click here to see my 7-km walking itinerary with the most important sites). After this active day, I was ready to encounter my first Sicilian fried specialties for dinner. Both quite heavy, these are not usually combined.
Palermian pani câ meusa
Pani câ meusa (Italianized: panino con la milza) is a soft white bread topped with sesame and stuffed with chopped veal lung and spleen that have been boiled and fried in lard. You often find it as “passami” in the menu.
Arancino (eastern Sicily) or arancina (western Sicily) are fried, breadcrumb-coated rice balls filled with meat sauce and peas, or other hot fillings like rice and cheese or rice and pistachio cream. I appreciated both but would eventually rather choose arancino at my next street food occasion in Palermo.
Cannolo in Cefalù
I tasted my first cannolo when I met my food lover friend Marina (watch her YouTube channel here) in Cefalù. This pastry is made of mainly ricotta in a tube-shaped fried pastry dough shell. It’s usually topped with pistachio from Bronte or candy fruits. Ranging from 9 to 20 centimeters, cannoli are a sweet bomb.
Granita and gelato in Taormina
Granita is a semi-frozen refreshment similar to sorbet but with a smoother and more crystalline texture. It’s made of water, sugar and flavoring, traditionally lemon.
In many places, you may order gelato with Sicilian brioche – another dessert that may replace a main dish as well.
Pasta alla Norma in Siracusa
Pasta alla Norma is a good choice for Vegetarians, featuring crispy eggplant, rich tomato sauce and salty aged ricotta cream. According to legend, it was born in Catania in reference to the famous masterpiece “Norma” composed by the Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini. Basically, this simple dish was so delicious, that it deserved the highest glory: “Chista è ‘na vera Norma!” – “This is a real Norma!”
Other seafood dishes
You can find fish and sea fruits everywhere. But I particularly enjoyed spaghetti alle vongole, pesce spada (grilled swordfish) and octopus.
Panelle in Noto
Panelle are chickpea fritters, a popular street food that you can find anywhere in Sicily. I was supposed to taste them in Palermo at the beginning of my trip. But my stomach craved for lighter food after my first fried tastings there.
Chocolate in Modica
I considered it an unavoidable obligation to combine my visit of the Noto valley with chocolate tastings. The Antica Dolceria Bonajuto still operates according to its 150-year-old family tradition since 1880. They use a old cold-processing method to make chocolate.
Horse meet in Catania
Before heading back home, I decided for another food stop-over in Catania. Catania is famous for their horse meat dishes. And so we tasted some horse meat boals, which were delicious.
Pistacchio, pistacchio, pistacchio…
Sicily is famous for its pistacchios from Bronte, a little town at the hand of Etna. This “green gold” was brought to Sicily during Arab invasion. At the time of my trip, Bronte pistacchios were traded at 90 euros per kilo. That’s due to the plants’ location on fertile lava soil, which brings high quality on the one hand but also very manual cultivating and harvesting methods, and above all a high risk due to possible eruptions. Thus, pistacchio-based products are usually not the most affordable souvenirs. But most are delicious and available in diverse forms such as pistacchio cream, liquor or pesto.
Travelling to Sicily is above all a culinary exploration!