Sun-kissed Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. Blessed with both a rich culinary history and infinitely fresh ingredients, Sicilian cuisine is celebrated for its delicious simplicity and diversity.
Surrounded by an ocean teeming with sardines, squids and octopuses, it will come as no surprise that Sicily boasts some of the freshest seafood dishes in the world.
The lush landscape also provides islanders with mountains of wholesome fruit and vegetables. Abundant in olives, oranges, tomatoes, not to mention capers and pistachios; this fertile land has an incredible variety of fresh produce to offer.
Discover Sicilian secrets and transform raw ingredients into classic cuisine with a hands-on cookery course led by a local chef.
One of the most popular ingredients in Sicilian cuisine is aubergine. Once used as a substitute for expensive meat, today the humble aubergine is the signature ingredient in dishes such as Pasta alla Norma, a tasty combination of sliced aubergine, tangy tomato sauce, salty ricotta and fresh pasta.
Best Street Food in Palermo
Palermo’s bustling market stalls are brimming with colourful fresh produce and are the perfect place for foraging. Crowned by Forbes as the ‘tastiest and most varied street food’, Sicilian street snacks are big business and an integral part of traditional Sicilian cuisine.
Whether you’re gorging on chickpea fritters (panelle) or savouring your first pork spleen sandwich, don’t be afraid to get stuck in and dine like a local.
From arancini to cannoli, with so many delectable dishes to taste it’s almost impossible to know what to try first. To help, we’ve put together our top five Sicilian foods.
Warning: the following list may cause your mouth to water!
The most popular Sicilian street food is the wonderful arancini. Is there anything more satisfying than biting into something that’s deliciously deep-fried and cheesy?
Said to resemble ‘little oranges’, arancini are deep-fried balls of risotto, oozing with stringy mozzarella and flavoured with a tempting combination of Ragu or chicken liver and peas.
These incredibly filling rice balls are a staple across the nation and it’s easy to understand why – love at first bite!
Introducing Sicily’s very own deep pan pizza! Sfincione which loosely translates as “thick sponge” is a focaccia-like dough that’s topped with cheese, onions, tomatoes and often anchovies for that added bit of flavour.
Behold trays of this freshly baked daily bread. When the scent wafts from local bakeries it’s a sure sign that it’s time for lunch.
Traditionally, sfincione was served on special holidays such as Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Good Friday, but this firm Sicilian favourite is also enjoyed all year round.
3) Pasta con le sarde
With so much fresh fish available, a fish dish had to make the list. Pasta cooked with sumptuous sardines is a Sicilian classic.
The trademark dish of the province of Palermo takes influence from its Arabic roots. The subtle aromatic combination of nuts, sultanas and saffron are heart-warming, especially when washed down with a crisp, dry local white wine.
This has to be the ultimate dining experience in the capital.
4) Pane con la milza
Pane con la milza
Don’t be put off by the thought of eating spleen, grab life by the bun! These succulent sandwiches are a firm and hearty favourite.
Boiled pork spleen is leisurely fried in lard for the duration of an afternoon and the resulting tender meat and dripping is then served up in a sweet brioche bun.
Pane con la milza epitomises the ‘waste not, want not’ attitude of the locals and is without a doubt the best bap in Sicily!
Last but by no means least is a Sicilian sweet treat known as cannoli. This dessert can also be traced back to its Middle Eastern origins.
The cone-shaped light pastry is fried and stuffed with deliciously sweetened ricotta and embellished with candied fruits, pistachios or chocolate chips. Cannoli are the perfect little indulgence to follow any Sicilian street snack.
If this has inspired you to start planning ahead for a gastronomic adventure in Sicily, take a look at our Sicily adventures here.