One thing becomes obvious as soon as you arrive in Sicily, this island is big and diverse. We didn’t have time to visit the whole island, but where we went, we ate. Here’s our top 10.
10. Rigatone Norma
Far from ordinary, this rich, thick, sweet and perfectly balanced tomato sauce with Aubergine was really something. The only downside, it was often the only veggie option. We had three, the best at Ferro Di Cavallo in downown Palermo. Read full review of Ferro Di Cavallo
9. Tomato and Mozzarella Crêpe
A wildcard. We were surprised when this simple café, just off the beaten track in Taormina produced a crêpe so thin and crispy it barely contained the tasty filling of local cheese and tomato. If you’re in Taormina, and you need a snack but want to escape the tourist hoards, then venture up to the simple, no fuss Cafe Solaris on Via Don Bosco.
8. Mini Cassata from Bakery Rosciglione
Cassata cake is available all over the island. It’s a Sicilian favourite of sponge cake, ricotta cream and mazipan icing (that’s martorana in Sicilian). They look great, and taste kind of sublime. These one’s were purchased from Bakery Rosciglione in Palermo, via Gian Luca Barbieri 5.
7. Mushroom Carpacio
If funghi is in season, then you gotta try this deceptively simple looking dish. Sliced mushroom dressed with lemon juice and pepper, served with rocket and salty cheese. Fork all of these ingredients into a mouthful and you’ll be in heaven, I promise. We saw this one at Casale Drinzi, provinciale 9, Collesano.
6. Orange Mousse
Light, citrusy and fluffy, with a crispy base and topped with deliciously tart candied orange peel, this dessert was the triumphant finalé of a dinner at Baglio di Pianetto. Full review coming soon. Via Francia – Contrada Pianetto, Santa Cristina Gela. www.bagliodipianetto.com
5. Maria Gramattico’s Ricotta Cheesecake
This is the lightest, fluffiest cheesecake I’ve ever had. And I’ve had cheesecake. It bounces into your mouth, and the pastry, short yet sweet. Visit for the cheesecake, but also enjoy the hilltop town of Erice (which feels more Umbrian than Sicilian) while taking in the hopeful story of Maria. Via Vittorio Emanuele 14, Erice. Mariagrammatico.it
4. Arancine (Meat warning!)
I was no stranger to Arancine (that’s the correct spelling in Sicilian) before arriving in Sicily, but I’d never had anything as delicious as this. During our streatfood Palermo tour (review coming soon), Marco led us to a stall on Il Capo, one of the less visited of Palermo’s markets. The Arancine is to die for. The veal (sorry veggies) filling is insanely tasty, but it’s the rice which grabbed me. It’s not as compressed as I’ve had before, so the crumb layer on the outside is more spacious, allowing more frying, more crispiness, more deliciousness. 5 star.
Staying on the Streetfood theme, this Sfincione is a street baked slab of pizza, topped with tomato and oregano (plus sausage if you’re that way inclined). But this pizza dough is no ordinary dough. It’s from a one of a kind bakery in Palermo and you can tell. The dough is so light and fluffy, yet tasty from the wood fired cart. I’ve never had anything quite like it.
2. Basil Pesto Linguine
I know what you’re thinking, how can basil pesto make a top 10? Well think about the freshest, perfectly cooked spaghetti, with a basil so rich and full of goodness it tastes like it’s grown in the light of 1,000 suns. We found this gem at Ristorantino da Spanò, Via degli Scalini, 7. www.ristorantinospano.com.
1. Fusilli pasta with Brocolli
I’ve had brocolli and pasta hundreds of times for dinner. But never, ever like this. This is a thing of precision, perfectly balanced textures (broccoli puree as well as pieces), wonderfully salty (the Parmesan see’s to that) and dressed with Baglio di Pianetto’s home grown olive oil to bring in the flavour of the land.
This dish truly sang and no other could have been our Sicilia no. 1 (for this trip, anyway).
Via Francia – Contrada Pianetto, Santa Cristina Gela. www.bagliodipianetto.com