Now if you know anything at all about Sicily you will know that it is packed with amazing opportunities to enjoy both food and wine. Indeed if you are passionate about wine or you’re a bit of a foodie you can enjoy the most amazing experiences on this island. You will never run short of delights to be discovered here, especially as there seems to be a new one around every corner. While nothing beats being able to explore the island in reality, let’s see what we can discover to whet your appetite for your actual arrival there.
The street food of Palermo
If you are staying anywhere near Palermo you simply must venture out into its street markets to sample any number of different dishes. No matter what you have a taste for, you can get a real taste of it here, as there are so many stalls that are eager to bombard you with aromas of dishes, begging to be tried. According to one survey, there are only four cities in the entire world that rank above Palermo in terms of street food. Make no mistake then, you are in the heart of a truly amazing culinary experience when you visit Palermo. Perhaps the best way to discover the city is to book a spot on a food tour – yes, a food tour. While you can wander around on your own you will learn far more about the Sicilian culinary scene if you take a spot on a tour like this.
You cannot come to Sicily without opening your eyes (and of course your mouth) to the wonders of gelato. This is true Sicilian ice cream, and while no one is quite sure how old this recipe is, it has been perfected throughout the ages to become the truly amazing item it is today. The texture, taste and ingredients are completely different from ice cream, with which gelato must not truly be confused. Look out for brioche con gelato as well, which is exactly what it sounds like – a fresh brioche bun with a generously-sized wodge of gelato popped in the middle. Some actually have this for breakfast, and if you have kids with you during your trip to Sicily they will probably be very eager to try this out!
Heading out on a wine trail
Nowhere is there a better chance to enjoy a wine trail than in Sicily, surely? There are many trails and paths you can follow across the island, depending on where you are staying and how close you are to them. There are many wineries in Sicily, spread out into different regions. Many of them offer wine tasting experiences, not to mention an insight into how wine is made here. Look out for Tenuta Rapitala in Palermo, Cantine Valenti in Valle d’Alcantara and Gambino Vini near Mount Etna to name just a few.
Here too you can learn about specific wines that are well-known for their appeal and beauty. Reds, whites and even the odd rose abound here, so whatever your tastes may lean towards you can definitely benefit from tasting a few. In terms of wine made from an indigenous grape variety, you should not miss the chance of tasting the Nero D’Avola. This is about the oldest of its kind in Sicily and it is gaining significant recognition for its appealing taste – quite rightly too.
While you will find blended wines in Sicily there is plenty that is ‘in purezza’. This means they are single grape varieties, and they include Nerello Mantellato, Calabrese and Shiraz. The latter is more commonly known as Syrah in Sicily, but both mean one and the same thing.
Chocolate in Sicily – true chocolate, that is – is a far cry from anything you may have tasted up until this moment. The most famous chocolate here, unique to Modica where it is made, is known as cioccolato di Modica, or simply chocolate of Modica. This is nothing like the intensely manufactured and processed chocolate that exists today. Instead it harks back to Aztec times, the people who could be said to be the creators of chocolate in the first place.
Modica chocolate is made today just as the Aztecs would have made it many centuries ago. There are very few additions to it; many of the items that are put into chocolate today are simply not present in the Modica version. Modica chocolate looks a little powdery on the surface, is very dark and is grainy too. This occurs since the sugar is only added when the chocolate has begun to cool. It may not look like anything you’ve seen before, but my word, the taste is simply divine. Many chocolate lovers are thoroughly spoilt upon tasting this and have never been pleased with anything else since!
Enjoy the food and wine of Sicily
As you can see there are all kinds of delights awaiting you in Sicily. Indeed you could go on a culinary break here quite happy indeed. Is your mouth watering yet?