The food and wine alone are excellent reasons to visit Sicily and Palermo. There are a huge number of local bars and restaurants that allow you to sample different colours, scents and flavours without committing to a single choice, with an ever-changing range of options.
CHEESES AND DELICACIES AT LA DROGHERIA DEL BUON GUSTO
By day it is a deli in Via Nicolò Garzilli, running parallel to Via Libertà in the city centre, but from a certain time onward you can taste special boards with a variety of exceptional salami and cheese, cleverly paired and presented with elegance and originality. Stick with a Sicilian theme by trying cheeses such as Cosacavaddu ibleo, Pecorino, Piacentino ennese, Tuma persa, Vastedda della Valle del Belice and Maiorchino, and not to mention Ricotta salata, paired with Nebrodi black pork, Sausage, Fellata and other delicacies. I always ask Toti Ballotta, our host, for an expert explanation of what we are eating.
WINE TASTING FROM VINO VERITAS
In Via Sammartino, in one of the wine shops, you can immerse yourself in native Sicilian wines. These include red wine varieties like the famous Nero d’Avola (which I find a little overpriced), Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, and Cerasuolo di Vittoria, all worth sampling, while the once-celebrated Perricone is also returning to fashion. In the summer, whites such as Grillo, Catarratto, Carricante, Damaschino, Grecanico and Inzolia make for a refreshing evening, while Malvasia and Zibibbo are a perfect conclusion to a meal. They are worth savouring, so there is no need to overindulge. 🙂
LOCAL SWEETS FROM I PECCATUCCI DI MAMMA ANDREA
There is more than just Cannoli and Cassata to be discovered in Via Principe di Scordia, where you can sample citrus marmalades, fruit covered with dark chocolate, preserves and biscuits. I recommend the Peccatucci: soft almond-based pralines, crowned with pistachio or coconut, or chocolate covered with cane sugar or hazelnuts. A match for Central European pastries any day!
ICE CREAM FROM LA KALA
One of the ways to survive a Scirocco day, when the hot wind blows from Africa, is artisan ice cream. Near La Cala, a bay filled with beautiful boats, there are three ways to eat ice cream: in a cup (with various sizes), in a classic cone, and in a filled brioche, the soft and fragrant choice. La Kala won a prize for their fig and nut flavour. A description would not do it justice.
OCTOPUS FROM CALOGERO
If you think you can eat an octopus after you have seen it moving (they are typically fresh) Calogero in Mondello, Palermo’s seaside district, is the stop for you. Palermitans eat it as a starter, and it can even be considered street food, since you can eat it standing up before heading back to the beach. The octopus is poached and served hot with lemon juice.