Food & Wine
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Sicily enjoys a fine tradition of food and wine. All the outside dominations throughout the centuries left their traces in the island’s gastronomy. The Ancient Greeks started producing refined flours and whole grain. They planted the Malvasia and Moscato vines which are still predominant in the island today. The ancient Greeks also seem to have used the snows of Mount Etna to make ices based on fruits and honey, they also introduced the first olive trees.
Sicily became the “granary of the Italic peninsula” during the ancient Roman times and still produces some of the best durum wheat in Italy. Bread and pasta continue to be important to the daily diet, and are of excellent quality. The Romans introduced the fava beans, from which it derives a typical soup called “favi a maccu”.
Arabs imported rice, sugar and almonds, and while couscous clearly draws origin from the couscous in North Africa, it differs just for the use of fish. Of Arabic derivation also come the two most famous desserts of the island: cassata and sorbetto. The Normans introduced stock-fish, to the island’s cuisine.
The Angevins, Aragonenses and Bourbons also left their sign. The “farsumagru”, a roll of meat with filling, is derived from the French. The Spanish introduced diverse dishes and ingredients such as the pan of Spain, chocolate, tomato and, above all, eggplant. From the fusion of these products and local traditions originated some of the most typical Sicilian recipes we know today: pasta with sardines, caponata, racines, and orange salad.
Sicily counts more vineyards than any other Italian region and boasts one of Italy’s most progressive wine industries. Noted mainly in the past for strong bulk wines and often sweet Moscato and Marsala, the island has switched its emphasis toward lighter, fruitier white and red wines. Sicily is divided into three main producing wine districts:
* Trapani province in the west
* Etna in the east
* Ragusa on the southern tip
The Sicilian dessert table is a delight for the eyes as well as the palate. Beautiful and delicious desserts include marzipan fruits; ricotta-filled cannoli; spectacular cakes decorated with candied fruits; cookies filled with dried fruits, nuts, and honey; and perhaps the best known dessert, granita, a smooth and refreshing fruit ice.