The complex history of the Mediterranean island reflects, especially in the Sicilian cuisine. The Arabs, the Romans, Greek, the French and Spaniards all brought a large variety of flavours which today are considered as typically Sicilian.
The influence of the Greek, Romans, and Arabs
The Greek imported the olives and brought Ricotta cheese, honey and wine to the island. Later, the Romans started to cultivate durum wheat in the interior of Sicily and made the first ice cream from the ice of the volcano Etna, by sweetening it with honey and fruits. Today, you can buy the popular “granita” water ice on every corner, flavoured with all kind of tastes. The Romans taught the farmers to prepare the “salsiccia” sausage, a coarsely-ground sausage from pork meat, and the typical “maccu,” a puree of broad beans, which was the staple food for the farmers for a long time.
The Arabs had a considerable influence on the Sicilian cuisine as well. They brought important foods like citrus fruits, rice, sugar, almonds, and marzipan. The preference of the Arabs for sweet desserts especially reflects the variety of the Sicilian “dolci.” The Sicilian confectioners offer a colourful variety of pastries from almond, pistachios and pine nuts which are mostly very sweet and filling. You should not miss the popular rolling pins “cannoli” which was filled with Ricotta cheese and the “cassata siciliana”, a layer cake from sponge mixture, Ricotta cheese, marzipan and candied fruits.
The combination of raisins and pine nuts, which are often served with vegetables and fish, is the basis of many common dishes, especially around Palermo. In the southern part around Trapani, the proximity to Northern Africa is noticeable, as many dishes are prepared with couscous. But nevertheless, the famous Italian Pasta is popular here, too, and it is said that Sicily is the home to the “maccheroni” pasta.
Fresh fish and hearty meat dishes
The ingredients of the Sicilian cuisine are colourful and daring mixtures of sweet, salty and sour, combined with a harmonic flavour. Along the coastline, fresh fish is the key of many dishes.
Around the Strait of Messina and the northern coast between Cefalù and the Lipari islands, the ocean is rich in sword fish. It is mainly served as “pesce spade” with sweet tomatoes, capers, and herbs or as a steak, grilled over wood charcoal and served with a sauce of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and oregano. Tuna is also very popular on the island.
In the interior of the island, meat dishes rule the cuisine, especially lamb, rabbit, and chicken. The traditional pork sausages are a specialty in the region around the city Ragusa. “Involtini alla siciliani” are the Sicilian version of roulades, filled with breadcrumbs, salami, pine nuts, and raisins.
And, of course, the Sicilians like good wines! The famous Marsala wine, which is a protected DOC wine, is produced in the western part of the island. The Vino dell’Etna is cultivated along the slopes of the volcano Etna and produced a full-bodied red wine, rosé or white wine. The Moscato di Pantelleria and the Malvasia are tasty dessert wines from the island Pantelleria and the Aeolian islands. Further traditional Sicilian drinks are the Limoncello, a lemon liqueur, and the Amaro Siciliano, an herbal liqueur which is served as a digestif.
Booking and further information
Enjoy the delicacies of the beautiful Mediterranean island on a custom-made group tour or team event to Sicily. We will be glad to provide the detailed travel schedule of the Sicilian group tour upon your request. We are looking forward to your no-obligation request via our contact form, email or phone +49 611 945879-42!