Thursday, 21 September 2017
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Sicilian gastronomy

Sicilian Gastronomy

"They eat as if they were to die and they build as if they were to live forever". That is what Diogene said talking about the Megaresi of Sicily. They arrived in Syracuse in order to know the ancient inhabitants of Sicily. This has been the native island of: Epicarpo from Syracuse, who was the first in writing about the art of cooking in 485 B.C.; Ladbaco, who created the first hotel school in 380 B.C.; Terpsione, who made a careful study, of what would be called the food science; Archestrato, who organized lunch for the Greek VIPs in 320 B.C., and  Procopio de' Coltelli who, in the 17th c., exported to France the unique Sicilian tradition of the sorbetto, that became famous with the name of ice-cream. In conclusion, speaking about gastronomy in Sicily, means speaking of the same Sicilian DNA, that has still today, a very high faith in the so-called "mangiata" (a lunch that lasts the whole afternoon). So, we can try to describe one of these sumptuous lunch, trying to show some of the typical recipes. We can start with thistles and artichokes put into a special creme (called pastella), made of flour and water, and then fried, the sausages (the Chiaramonte Gulfi salami or that one of Sant'Angelo di Brolo), the olives "acciurate", that means olives immersed into the extra-virgin olive oil together with typical pot-herbs, and the caponata, a receipt containing eggplants. Not to miss  "panelle", slices of chickpea flour fried, incredibly delicious with a spray of lemon. Then the cheeses, from the caciocavallo to the maiorchino, from the ericino to the piacentino and the fiore sicano... Go on with pasta. First among them is the "pasta al forno", that is a timbale of anelletti stuffed with everything the cook's fantasy says: tomato sauce, mince, egg plants, cheese, salami... For delicate palates there is also pasta with sardines, delicious. In summer, you cannot miss the "pasta con tenerumi", that is the bud of the long zucchini plants. As easy as the "pasta alla trapanese", that is with the raw tomato and garlic, or as the pasta alla norma with the tomato sauce and fried eggplants. Go on with the second plate, that is fish cooked in different ways (generally roasted) as the sword fish, tuna fish, bass, and so on...without forgetting the "sarde a beccafico", stuffed sardines rolls, with bread-crumbs, pine seeds, raisins; or speaking about meat, the delicious sausages, fried or grilled, mutton, traditional dish during the Easter Monday together with the kid meat. About the use of the pork meat it is possible to write an encyclopaedia. As vegetables, there's the classical salad: tomato, fennel, onion, lettuce... and more you have more you put. Obviously, together with all this, there's the bread, that one backed in the wood stove, with an unmistakable smell. After fruit, the confectionery. There's the "cassata", but actually there are also further masterpieces such as the "buccellati" with figs marmalade, the "frutta martorana" with sugar and almond wheat, the "cuddureddi", pastries with honey or ricotta cheese or candied fruit, the almond biscuits or the "reginelle", biscuits covered by sesame. Above all, the "cannoli", present in the whole island.