Can you tell I’ve got itchy feet? Okay, so spoiler alert: sea, wine and really good food! What more could a girl want? This is why I’m heading to Sicily (among lots of other beautiful places!). If you’ve ever been, share your tips in the comments below.
As we all know, Italian food is renowned worldwide for its traditional recipes, high level of quality, and overall health benefits. In large part this is due to the Mediterranean climate which gives its best in terms of game and crop cultivation. But for a truly authentic, healthy yet still adventurous gastronomic experience, Italian food enthusiasts are definitely encouraged to visit the Southern Italian island of Sicily, located in the centre of the Mediterranean.
The main reason is simple: its culinary delicacies are derived from ancient recipes, cooking methods, and agricultural methods of production borrowed from Greek, Roman, Arab, Spanish, Northern European and North-African influences– and due to its location the island is geographically positioned to get the best of the Mediterranean temperate climate throughout the year, and subsequently takes major advantage of its contributions to health in particular.
So for those who have a preference for the exotic, Sicily is the place to go. Its diverse and multi-cultural tradition spanning three millennia has ensured its primacy in Italian cuisine among the other regions in the Italian mainland. And as for Tuscany, while it certainly is still a good competitor, the choice of dishes is generally not as diverse as what can be found in Sicily. Visit the Eastern part of the island and in places like Taormina you’ll get a good idea of the high health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
I cannot wait to breathe in the fresh air of the Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Mediterranean seas on the sea-front terrace of a Sicilian villa (you can find a wide selection of villas in Taormina that you can rent online at highly affordable prices and directly from local owners) while sipping on some Nero D’Avola wine and feast on the many specialties of the island.
Seafood dishes with the best swordfish, clams, tuna, prawns and anchovies that the teeming Mediterranean seas have to offer; pasta alle sarde, cannelloni, lasagne; game dishes like lamb and pork from the Mountains in Madonie; the best vegetables, seasonings and produce like garlic, herbs, capers, beans, fave, chili peppers, and especially tomatoes (a major specialty of Sicily). BLISS!!
I’ve read on Tripadvisor to try the Caponata for a truly vegetarian experience, or the Arabic-inspired Cassata for a spectacular dessert made with ricotta, almonds, and candied fruit. Its citrus fruits are unparalleled and the fertile volcanic soil of nearby Etna (along with the other volcanic regions spread throughout Sicily and its Aeolian Islands) is a major contributing factor to the quality and taste of Sicilian cuisine.