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What to Eat in Sicily


What to Eat in Sicily


I am completely and utterly in love with Sicily! When I think of what to eat in Sicily, the list could get very long. The history of Sicily is complicated and totally unique. Sicily is Mediterranean through and through. This beautiful island was invaded for 25 centuries by the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, North Africans, Byzantines, Goths, Spaniards, Persians, Bourbons. All of these different people left their mark on Sicily's archeology and most notably, in its cuisine.



Sicily's cuisine is different than any other region of Italy. You will find dishes made with cinnamon, saffron, raisins and the Arab influence of sweet and sour. All of the different invasions left an impact on this beautiful island and especially left a mark on the incredible cuisine. Since Sicily is surrounded by water, you can expect to find superb seafood. But if you aren't there for the seafood and prefer something different, there are other wonderful things to try.

My father's entire family is in Sicily. I lived in Sicily as a young girl and spent countless summers there with my family and friends. Sicily is a place that is so special to me and I get goosebumps when we arrive at the the airport in Catania. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to take my children there and show them their family history and introduce them to the food of a very different part of Italy.  This is just a little sample of what we ate last month in Sicily. Whether your desire is sweet or savory, Sicily will have you completely smitten at first bite!
What to Eat in Sicily

What to Eat in Sicily


Cannoli Is it wrong for me to say that the first thing I want to do when I get back to Sicily is buy a cannolo? Let me explain something really quickly about the name: cannoli means more than one cannolo. When you ask for cannoli, they will think you are buying more than one, which most likely, you will be!!! I have never had a bad cannolo in my dad's hometown. The shell is always super crispy and it crumbles everywhere when you take that first ravenous bite. The ricotta is usually made from sheep's milk and has such a sweet and distinctive taste. In the summertime, you probably won't see any cannoli out in the display. Just ask for some and they will fill it fresh when you order. If it's sitting there with the filling for a while, it will be soggy. You could also order yours with pastry cream. Either way, you can't go wrong and it will be like nothing you ever had before. Trust me!

Pizza On this most recent trip to Sicily, we had the chance to visit a fairly new and pretty famous pizzeria called Sarda Salata. I took a few more photos inside of the pizzeria and I wanted to explore the pizzaiola's history a bit. My cousin explained he won an award for best pizzaiolo. I wasn't sure what to expect, because it was my first time eating pizza at an actual pizzeria, and I am happy to say it was outstanding. The street food pizza is totally than what you will get in a pizzeria. If you are walking around Sicily and want a quick bite while you're exploring the amazing sites, don't hesitate to try a pizza. They're usually round and small and the dough is thick and soft.

What to Eat in Sicily

These were the pizzas we tried one very hot afternoon when we also were enjoying the arancini. The pizza was very cheap and it was very good! If you have a small budget for lunch, street food is the way to go while in Sicily!!
What to Eat in Sicily

Arancini (or Arancine) are fabulous balls of rice. The rice is mixed with cheese and meat. The whole round shaped delight is breaded and fried and is the shape of an orange (arancia) and that is where the name comes from. You may find arancini that are even cone shaped, but in my dad's town, they are round. The pizza spot we passed by had two varieties: the white one that had ham, cheese and peas and the sauce version that is filled with a tomato meat sauce.  They are the ultimate Sicilian street food! Arancini are economical and really great! But like any thing, depends where you get yours. We stopped by a place that is owned by my cousin Giuseppe's in-law, so he knew the arancini and pizza would be good. Ask around at your hotel for a great spot to grab your arancini!
What to Eat in Sicily


Brioche and Cappuccino for Breakfast Sicily isn't known only for its famous cannoli and outstanding cookies. You must also check out their brioche (or croissants)for breakfast, or even after breakfast. Sometimes later in the morning you will happen upon a bar and you may find some leftover from breakfast. This summer in Sicily we tried some made with marmalade and even pistachio pastry cream (OUT OF THIS WORLD).  Seriously, pistachio pastry cream inside of a flaky brioche is what Sicilian breakfast dreams are made of. In Sicily, you can also find your brioche filled with fresh ricotta (crazy good...CRAZY good). I know, these food memories get me a little happy. And a quick reminder on cappuccino while in Italy: You should only have one for breakfast. Really, they will look at you like you're not doing the right thing if you order one after lunch or dinner.
What to Eat in Sicily


Biscotti Sicilian cookies are out of this world. Some are very simple, like the ones photographed below, and some are more ornate and many of them are made with almost paste (2nd photo below). The cookies on the left are the famous S cookies that are made with fennel seeds. The ones on the right are simple cookies without any notable flavor that are perfect to dip in your cappuccino or caffe latte for breakfast. The almond cookies are light and amazing. Sicily grows the most incredible almonds. The cookies are chewy and so very soft made with almond paste.

What to Eat in Sicily

What to Eat in Sicily



Granita in Sicily will be different than granita you will find in other regions of Italy. Sicilian granita isn't runny and you can't drink it with a straw. The granita is thicker and very smooth. You can find different flavors depending what bar you visit. At one place in my dad's hometown, they were serving almond, lemon and strawberry flavors. At another little gelato place that is pretty popular, the owner had just lemon and served it in little plastic cups. You could have your granita in a cup or in a big and fluffy brioche. When I was a little girl spending summers in Sicily and when I lived there, that was pretty much my summer breakfast! There was an older guy named Nicola that would drive by in his ape and my cousin Lucia and I would run downstairs to get the granita in the brioche for us and our siblings. Some days I would dribble on some of the amarene her mom canned (cherries in a delicious syrup)and that would be the most perfect breakfast ever! But this summer in Sicily after dealing with the heat walking around town and finding minimal air conditioning or no air conditioning anywhere, it's nice to chill out with a refreshing cup of granita!
What to Eat in Sicily

What to Eat in Sicily

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of Sicily and that it made you hungry! I will be back soon with some more photos and recipes! I'm still catching up on putting together the 1,000's of photos from our trip!! Ciao and thanks for stopping by!!

26 comments

  1. You look like you scored on the food in Sicily! It all looks so good!

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  2. I so agree about cannoli. Before visiting Sicily for the first time, I wasn't ever crazy about them. As a matter of fact, I only tried one in Sicily more or less to check that off my list. (I ate a cannolo in Sicily.) But, what a surprise!!! The ricotta, the crispy shell ... it was all perfect! The Sicilians could hang a big sign at the airport with the slogan from US pizza boxes, but with a picture of a pile of cannoli, "You've tried the rest, now try the best!"

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  3. Those cannoli ahhhhhhhh I bet they were AMAZING! (by the way I had no idea about the plural there!)

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  4. This makes me want to go to Sicily so bad. Everything looks amazing!

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  5. I agree with you, Karen!! The ricotta is the best part...no, the crispy shell...haha!! They're amazing :)

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  6. I'm pretty sure I NEED to visit Sicily! I love ALL of your suggestions!

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  7. Thanks for the food tour of Sicily! It all looks amazing, but those arancini are calling my name!

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  8. Sicily is on my bucket list and I honestly can't wait to go and see it all! And eat all the food, especially cannoli!

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  9. Absolutely salivating at these photos. I can't believe I lived in Italy for over 10 years and never made it down to Sicily. What was I thinking? All my friends raved about it, especially the food. I remember one friend was ecstatic over the brioche stuffed with gelato... :-)

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  10. […] In case you are out an about and looking for something good to eat,  Savoring Italy has a great article on What To Eat In Sicily. […]

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  11. A nice list and all duly noted for our upcoming trip to Sicily in late September - great timing, thanks!

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  12. Hi, Amanda! It's such a short list of what you will see! How lucky for you that you will go in September. It's a great time of the year and the weather is not so hot any more. Enjoy all of the delicious food!!

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  13. Ciao Frank...grazie! I am every time I look at the photos :) I know...I have friends in other areas that hadn't made it there and those that finally did were so happy to make it there! The brioche...mamma mia!

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  14. Sicily is on my bucket list! My dad's parents were from there. I love these tips on what to eat!

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  15. I have been dying to visit Sicily and the food looks incredible!

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  16. Oh my gosh. I'm a super picky eater but I love or know I'd love everything on this list! I want to try arancini. Those are new to me! I think I should book a trip to Sicily and try them there. :D I hope you had a wonderful time in Italy!

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  17. Sicily is on my bucket list for sure! My family is from that area and I'd love to see it for myself some day and try one or two of those cannolis!

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  18. Just reading this post is making me starving! Those cannolis....yum!

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  19. Oh how I would love to go and try all these things!

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  20. Oh my gosh as you are saying the cannolo will break apart in that first bite, I literally am seeing it and almost tasting it! I'm almost literally drooling over here. Oh my!

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  21. Yes, yes, yes to everything!!! I LOVE Sicily, too! And being from southern Germany I have to add one more cultural influence to your list of invaders: The Swabians (the Hohenstaufen family of rulers) :) Great article, great food, and now I'm so ready to go back!

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  22. Fantastic, Amanda! I didn't know your family is Sicilian:) I hope you make it there one day!! xx

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  23. One day I will hopefully visit Sicily and I will order the cannoli because, of course, who an have just one right ;) Fantastic photos and advice, as always!

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  24. Your photos are making me hungry mmmm! I love Sicily; I visited almost twenty years ago (gasp!) and had a blast. I'd love to try all of these tasty looking foods!

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  25. I am drooling! Seriously, DROOLING! Taking notes & cannot wait!
    Grazie for the sneak preview-beyond delish!
    xo

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  26. I just left my parents house - the menu was arancini, pizza (homemade) and cannoli for dessert. Do you know how happy this post makes me? I'm going to send it to my mom. I loved when you said getting to the airport in Catania gives you goosebumps, I can totally see that happening to me too! I can not wait to go back for a visit!! xo

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