Foodie Holidays to Sicily – Enjoy a Regional Feast

10For many travellers, partaking of authentic regional food is part of the pleasure and adventure of travel. For hardcore foodies, however, the cuisine itself is enough reason for the journey. Of course, every destination in the world has its local culinary treats to offer, but for dedicated food epicureans, no other place offers as much culinary diversity, history, and sheer wealth of quality ingredients as holidays to Sicily.

While some may carelessly classify Sicilian cuisine under the umbrella of Italian food, true epicureans know that, like the island itself, the cuisine is the product of evolution. It retains the influences of past conquerors and citizens such as, among others, the Phoenicians, the Arabs, the Greeks, the Romans, the Germans, the Spanish, and the French. Add to these influences the fact that each family has their own ‘secret recipes’ handed down from one generation to the next and perfected through time, you can be sure that, during food focused holidays to Sicily, your meals are going the be the furthest thing from frozen supermarket lasagne as possible!

Locally grown fresh ingredients are also the key to the incredible cuisine you’ll feast on during holidays to Sicily. In addition to being known for premium olives and olive oil, the region is also renowned for its pistachios, almonds, grapes, tomatoes, and pears – not to mention incredible cheeses and wines. Below, we present a quick guide as to the best foods the region has to offer.

Pistachios

If you love pistachios then food focused holidays to Sicily are your chance to sample the best pistachios in the world. Here you’ll find the pistachio used in everything from gelato (the best in the world) to pasta. Try a scoop or two of pistachio gelato on a brioche or pasta with pistachio pesto. We can guarantee you’ve never had anything like it anywhere else in the world.

Sardines

Palermo, the region’s capital, is known for its seafood dishes, but its best-known and most iconic dish is the pasta con le sarde. Sardines, wild fennel, capers, and raisins are procured fresh from markets (such as Mercato della Vucciria), and cooked to create a sauce that tastes undeniably of the ocean. If you aren’t fond of sardines, we can guarantee that tasting this dish will change your mind! For other fish dishes, try sfincione tuna, tuna with ragù sauce, and hake cooked the Palermo way.

Cheese

Pecorino cheese is enjoyed the world over and will be easily accessible all over the island, but for a truly local and authentic culinary experience, cheese from Ragusa – such as ragusano, caciocavallo ibleo, canestrato, and tumazzo medicano – in a local pastieri pie with a piece of exquisite Modica chocolate or glass of local wine is the perfect end to any meal.

Almonds

Almonds, especially those grown and harvested in Avola, are another premium ingredient you’ll encounter again and again. Honey and almond mustazzola cookies, vucciddati, almond gelato, and the island’s famous torrone nougat make this a true paradise for those with a sweet tooth.