Sicily: street food, Michelin restaurants and signature desserts

Until a few years ago, no gourmet would have gone to Palermo to look for the best Pane ca' Meusa (Bread with Spleen). Or he would have never imagined that the ''Vucciria'', the historic market immortalized in 1974 by Renato Guttuso, would become a vibrant meeting point of the city's nightlife, amidst calamari fritti and boiled octopus.

Today Palermo is the undisputed European capital of street food, fifth in the world after Bangkok, Singapore, Penang and Marrakech, according to the latest ranking compiled by the Virtual Tourist site. 

From arancine to potato croquettes, a long list of mouth-watering morsels makes the Sicilian gastronomic heritage unique: a mosaic of colors, scents and flavors that tells of cultural contaminations and ancient gestures handed down from father to son.

A treasure that is revealed along the sunny streets of a land where appetizers and baked goods become the emblem of a strong identity.

So a journey to discover the flavors can only begin with emblematic and timeless places like the Palermo markets of Ballarò, Capo and Vucciria, where the ''Abbanniate'', street vendors screaming their offers, catch the attention of passers-by to focus it on Pane and Panelle (chickpea flour fritters prepared with water and parsley), Stigghiola (skewers of lamb entrails cooked on the grill), Sfincioni (high pizzas with tomato, caciocavallo, oregano and onion) and Fritturiedde (mixed fried fish served in the coppo).

It then continues to Catania, in search of dishes cooked with zero-kilometer products, as happens with Fud; and we sit at I Banchi di Ciccio Sultano in Ragusa. Not forgetting to hunt for the rising stars, young chefs to keep an eye on, interpreters of a modern, creative and territorial cuisine, in Noto, Licata and Marsala.
 

FUD - Palermo and Catania

One of the most innovative brands of Palermo and Catania, Fud is a modern grocery, where you can buy local goodies and taste gourmet sandwiches and burgers. Long social tables and a welcoming atmosphere complete the picture.

At Fud, street food is celebrated in all its forms. Here you can taste specialties ranging from the Eg burgher with Sicilian beef, Madonie provola, organic fried egg and black Nebrodi pork cheek, to the Ors burgher with horse meat, wild vegetables sautéed with red garlic from Nubia and canestrato cheese with pepper.

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FUD restaurant Palermo
 

SAN LORENZO MARKET - Palermo 

Sicily boasts a high number of Slow Food Presidia, as many as 41, in addition to another 29 under the DOP and IGP brand. To discover them all, just take a trip to the San Lorenzo market, in Palermo. in the spaces of a former citrus factory: a food court in the style of European covered markets, complete with a garden and educational farm, where the "once upon a time" meets the present. A chic version of the classic market far from the screams of street vendors, the crush, the intrusive fumes and boiling pots, but true to tradition.

In the San Lorenzo Mercato there are the most significant enograstronomic realities of all Sicily. Over three thousand products from more than 250 producers selected according to the logic of the short chain, eight shops where to shop or test menus of the day made with the fresh from the counter, and a tavern with table service. They range from the pastry shop to the bakery, from the fruit and vegetable corner to the butcher shop, from the fish shop to the winery, from the salami and cheese to the fry shop.

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San Lorenzo Market Palermo
 

KE PALLE -  Palermo

The Arancina, rigorously female and dressed in many extravagant variations, the Queen of Ke Palle, a brand that has three stores in the historic center of Palermo. The sign reads "Signature Arancine" and the motto "Sicilian fast good".

The arancines here are handcrafted with quality ingredients and divided into forty types ranging from traditional recipes to gourmand, seasonal, vegetarian, vegan, seasoned, sweet and baked. An example? Cuttlefish ink with prawns and mussels, swordfish with mint and eggplant, chicken and curry, tomato and salted ricotta. For the more curious, there are pasta arancine, based on Sicilian-style anelletti or bucatini with sardines and wild fennel.

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KE Palle, Catania
 

ZASH - Riposto, near Mt Etna 

Among the Sicilian talents to be discovered in the kitchen, here is Giuseppe Raciti, fresh from the Europa Prize at the final of the Italian selection of the bocuse d'or, one of the most important international culinary competitions. He arrived at the Zash Country Boutique Hotel in Riposto, Catania, after collecting experiences in starred restaurants in Switzerland and in Italy.

At the Zash Country Boutique Hotel, the chef surprises with tasty creations such as the Anchovies Rice Ball with Castedda del Belice (local cheese) and caramelized red onion, which has become a cult.

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Zash restaurant in Riposto
 

HOTEL SIGNUM -  Salina, Aeolian island

The new star is young but determined (Michelin Guide 2016) Martina Caruso, chef under 30 who in the magical atmosphere of the Hotel Signum in Salina works in tandem with her brother Luca bringing a fresh creative breeze to the cuisine of the Aeolian Islands.

Among the delicacies offered by the chef Martina Caruso, the caper ice cream, the linguine with almond milk and clams and the red shrimp of Salina scalded with redfish and saffron sauce.

hotel Signum Salina
 

LE LUMIE - Marsala 

Emanuele Russo is the chef and owner of Le Lumie, a panoramic restaurant overlooking the Stagnone Nature Reserve. Here he reaps the fruits of a long experience alongside chef Giovanni Torrente in San Vito lo Capo (where he won the Cous Cous Fest Preview in 2012) and builds on the secrets of the grandmothers stole from the brigades of taverns and trattorias in Italy.

He proposes a cuisine with zero kilometer ingredients that draws from his organic garden, giving form to specialties such as Couscous with crabs and Semifreddo of Marsala and dried figs.

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Le Lumie Ristorante Marsala
 

OSTE E SACRESTANO - Licata. 

Chef Peppe Bonsignore bet everything on L’Oste e il Sacrestano in Licata, his city, where he decided to return to try his greatest passion, leaving a safe job in Florence.

Chef Peppe offers something new every week, but a typical run is his version of seafood salad based on octopus cooked in green tea, pan-fried, flavored with almond wood and served on a carrot cream with sweet beetroot and soy caramel.

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Oste e Sacrestano

 

LA POLPETTERIA - Catania

The Polpetteria di Catania offers at least 30 different types of meatballs, ranging from those with cod to the vegetarian version.

Rustic atmosphere, with barrel vaults, wooden tables and wicker chairs. The Polpetteria revisits a classic of home cooking. Here, the menu includes Meatballs with beef and pistachio cream, Chianina meat with rocket, parmesan and barbecue sauce. For a vertical tasting, try the mixed roast, fish or vegetarian formula.

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La Polpetteria, Catania

 

HOSTARIA DEL VICOLO, Sciacca 

Lila Bentivegna and Angelo Principato inherit the legacy passed by Nino Bentivegna, Lila's father, who opened the Hostaria del Vicolo more than thirty years ago. They are cooks of the Slow Food and in the kitchen they undertake to value and use niche products protected by the association.   Among the dishes to try, the trilogy of marinated fish with Trapani sea salt, sugar and honey, flavored with herbs.

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Hostaria del Vicolo, Sciacca
 

I BANCHI, Ragusa

Leavened breads that smell of authenticity represent the flagship of I Banchi, in the baroque heart of Ragusa Ibla: a contemporary version of the Putìa, the food shop next door. The project is signed by Ciccio Sultano, a chef who is the 2-star patron chef of the nearby Duomo restaurant, which defines this space as "an agora of taste and relaxation, of sharing and good food".

The Banchi di Ciccio Sultano, in Ragusa Ibla, is a place where you can buy selected local specialties, savor a cuisine that boasts excellent local produce and delight in a refined gastronomy. Here, specialties such as Focaccia with tomato sauce and Ragusano dop, or sliced ​​pizza with cherry tomatoes and cheese and many, different varieties of bread are baked daily.

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I Banchi baker Shop in Ragusa
 

LA TERRAZZA SUL MARE - Siracusa

Christian De Simone works as a faithful right arm of chef Maurizio Urso at La Terrazza sul Mare in the Grand Hotel Ortigia, in Syracuse. Chef Euro-Toques (the only association of chefs recognized by the European Union), he worked his career in various Italian locations

His creations includes, dishes such as Ravioli filled with Norma sauce or the Elderberry Bavarese on almond brittle, prepared with wild flowers that he personally collects.

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La Terrazza Restaurant, Siracusa



FIASCONARIO - Castelbuono

In the province of Palermo, the art of four generations of pastry chefs and a secular history are enclosed in the Panettone proposed at the Bar Fiasconaro: the gold of Manna, prepared with Manna extracted from the ash trees of the Madonie, according to ancient techniques. Today the Madonie Manna is protected as a Slow Food presidium.

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Fiasconario, castelbuono

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