If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that most of your holidays are spent revolved around food…
As soon as I know I’m going to a new place, I’m immediately tripadvisor-ing every restaurant/cafe/cocktail bar under the sun looking for my next amazing meal. I also try, if at all possible, to eat exclusively the food of that particular country/region. For example, if I’m in Spain, I’m all about the tapas and paella. In France, it’s moules-frites, steaks and cheese all round. And, in Italy, I of course managed to eat my own body weight in pasta and pizza.
Sicily is such an incredible place for fresh, delicious cuisine. I was lucky enough to try some of the island’s most famous delicacies, and as my last Italian themed travel post, I thought I’d share with you my top six recommendations. If you’re heading there at any point in the future, or you’re looking for some recipe inspiration, you just HAVE to try these.
- Stuffed Swordfish Rolls
So the swordfish rolls I had were more like yummy little parcels, but that doesn’t really matter! Involtini di Pesce Spada is seriously one of the most delicious streetfood-esque dishes I’ve tasted. Traditionally, a mixture of currents, pine nuts, pecorino cheese and breadcrumbs are stuffed inside the swordfish, which is then grilled or sometimes battered and fried. The sweetness from the currents is absolutely mouthwatering.
Aubergine, or eggplant, pops up in a lot of Sicilian dishes, and I am not complaining! I absolutely love fresh aubergine. Plus, it’s really good for you. The most famous aubergine dishes are Pasta alla Norma (tomatoes, aubergine, ricotta and basil), Caponata (a cold mixed salad often served as a side dish), and of course, Aubergine Parmigiana.
Personally though, I also love to eat it simply cooked with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and a hunk of break.
3. Spaghetti Chi Ricci – Spaghetti with Sea Urchins
Sea urchins have a bit of an interesting rep. In some countries, like Italy and Japan, they’re considered a delicacy. In others, like the UK, they’re pretty non-existent. I honestly can’t remember ever seeing them on a menu here. For this reason, I really wanted to give them a go, just to see how I felt about it!
If I’m honest, this dish wasn’t completely to my taste. The sea urchins have a very unique, salty taste which some people love. Me? Not so much. I would definitely recommend giving them a go though. Just to say you have!
Now we’re talking. On to the desserts! This cake is possibly the most famous of all Sicilian desserts and it was on every single menu we saw. A moist sponge cake flavoured with fruit liqueur, layers of ricotta,cream, fruit and icing… It’s then covered in marzipan and decorated with fruit peel and candy. It’s most famous for the designs which make it really vibrant and pretty.
This was such a yummy melt-in-the-mouth kind of cake, and marzipan always brings me right back to childhood.
5. Pistachio Cake and Gelato
So I’m told that nowadays most of the “Sicilian Pistachios” aren’t actually Sicilian at all, and are mostly imported from the Middle East, which is a bit of a shame. Despite this though, I still had one of the most delicious desserts of my life there.
Now, I’m a big pistachio fan. I always go for the pistachio macarons and I find that pistachio ice cream is just as creamy and classic as vanilla, but not as boring. We saw lots of pistachio-themed desserts in Italy, but my favourite had to be this ridiculously creamy and luxurious cake/torte hybrid served with a generous scoop of pistachio gelato. Pure bliss.
6. Sicilian Cannoli
Ahhhh, you didn’t think I’d forget cannoli did you??
These are true heaven on a plate. Meaning “little tube” in English, these are crumbly, crusty rolls of pastry, with a creamy ricotta filling. The classic recipe uses just a plain custard filling, but often they’ll now add flavours of vanilla, orange or chocolate. I insist that if you go to Italy, you buy one of these immediately! You’ll thank me later…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Italian travel posts! It’s so sad in a way that they’ve come to an end as it makes it feel so long ago! Good job I’ve just booked a little weekend away in December to a very exciting European destination, so I’ve got that to look forward to..
What are your favourite Italian foods? And have you tried any of the above? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Joanna xxxxx