We first got acquainted as grease dribbled down my chin. My first bite of the island of Sicily was a whopping pani câ meusa, a street food go-to in the region. I tucked into that harmonious smattering of veal offal bits braised in lard, salted, and then sandwiched between two sesame-topped buns. After a lengthy walk through the stone streets, exploring chapels, churches, plazas, and palaces across Palermo, Sicily’s capital, the sandwich was a perfect fuel.
It also had the right mix of oily guilt to inspire me to continue walking for the day in hope of making a dent into those newly acquired calories.
A goal short-lived as I ventured deeper into the market of Vucciria, the arguable pulse of this city. A symphony of sights and smells beckoned me at every turn of the narrow lanes. Fresh produce lined crates as I lingered on lime green gourds stretching taller than me. The air thick with briny salted capers and musk from fennel and saffron paired well with the crackling of arancini, yet another Sicilian fried delicacy of rice balls stuffed with meat stewed in tomato sauce.
I tried my best to resist, to not think about all the food in the market as I distracted myself by staring in awe at the gold and navy blue mosaics of the Church of Martorana; or touring the formidable opera house, Massimo Theatre, towering over the orange rust slated buildings on Piazza Verdi; or head strained upwards taking in the splendour of Palermo Cathedral, a building of hodgepodge architectural styles and aesthetics built and amended over countless centuries.
I lost that battle. Like this cathedral, every corner in Sicily is filled with the temptation of treats brought from varying cultures. The island traded hands between Byzantine, Islamic, Roman, Norman, and Greek empires.
Sicilian cuisine is rich in as many fried items as meaty dishes often prepped from what would qualify as discards in other cuisines: stigghiola, grilled sheep intestines wrapped around spring onions; sfincione, a thick but spongy pizza bread lathered with tomato sauce and anchovies; thinly crusted chickpea fritters or panella and frittola, a crisp cone of paper wrapped around veal scrapings like a prized Christmas stocking. The food of Palermo is one born of sustenance to fill the bellies of working classes and has since grown to embody the love of eating, cooking and sharing.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Where Thyme Stands Still
Slow Kumaoni cooking, curated hikes, and clear 'scenes of Himalayan peaks all add to the draw. and awe of this boutique property, a mountainside oasis of zen in Uttarakhand's Kasar Devi
Hyper Local First-Timer's Guide To Nashik And Aurangabad
Merlot summers at Sula, bewitching kaala masala mutton, and unforgettable explorations at Ajanta and Ellora, the twin cities are a gateway to Maharashtra's underrated delights
Good Food Comes To Those Who Wait
Quick and easy might be the go-to techniques of our times, but a veteran chef and traveller explains why slow cooking using fresh local seasonal produce is a tradition to be savoured
HOW GREEN IS MY VALLEY
For many years, Uttarakhand's micro-cuisines, with their slow, sustainable approach and superfood appeal, have attracted curiosity. What will it take for them to finally garner attention?
VORACIOUS IN VIZAG
Andhra Pradesh's coastal city dishes up lively street fare, offering a glimpse of the region's exuberant flavour profile
For the Love of Mom - and - Pops
These classic New York institutions dish up fantastic meals alongside history and family legacy. Their loyalists, often spanning generations, keep returning for specialties just as invigorating as the owners' life stories
CLOSER TO THE EARTH
A foraging experience, just a couple of hours from Mumbai, shines a light on the sustainable food practices of local indigenous communities and provides a rich connect with nature
Blue Zones Eaternal Paradises
Five specific regions around the world have been identified as having the highest concentrations of 100-year-old people. And a regional slow-food diet plays a big role in their longevity
AMERICA'S MALAYALI BBQ MASTER
Malayali flavours meet the meaty goodness of Texas-style barbecue in the unlikely setting of Buffalo, NY
WALLABIES and WINE
Southern Tasmania's Huon Valley is blessed with fertile soil, a temperate climate and some of the world's cleanest air something farmers and growers are harnessing to transform the region into an agritourism hub
For the Love of Aubrey
You know, the sharp, sarcastic, enchanting woman of our collective dreams who's filming The White Lotus, promoting new movies (yes, plural, and yes, they're good), and plotting her next brilliant move.
A Sicilian Odyssey
A luxurious tour of Sicily is even more enticing at the wheel of the new Bentley GT Speed Convertible
A Tour of Italy's Fiery Trio
A VOLCANIC FAMILY WITH COMPLEX PERSONALITIES
UNITY OF COMMAND II is a wargame for both hardcore and new players.
Sicily: On A Clear Day You Can See Africa
Adam Leith Gollner takes a journey through Sicily in search of the Arab roots of the sun-drenched isle’s agrodolce flavors.
ISOLA BY SAN CARLO IS THE EPITOME OF COLOURFUL SICILIAN STYLE - GREG AUSTIN AND ANDY GOODWIN FROM FETTLE DESIGN STUDIO SPILL ITS DECOR SECRETS
A CHEF'S GUIDE TO… Trapani, Italy
Food and life are entwined in this humble port region. After a decade in her adopted home town, chef ANISSA HELOU shares her best finds.
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
With Italy's iconic Etna volcano erupting at the beginning of the year, followed by the lava flows of La Palma making headlines for weeks in autumn, then activity starting at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai in late December, it felt like 2021 was a particularly big year for the planet's volcanoes.
Azure Waters And Turquoise Skies Of Sicily
Alex Preston finds sustenance for mind, body and soul surrounded by the azure waters and turquoise skies of Sicily
10 Things I love about Sicily
Emilia Strazzanti, co-founder of the Strazzanti shop and supper club, tells us what makes the food of Sicily so special to her and her family