In my last entry detailing pistachio overload, I promised a “flurry” of posts which I was hoping to hold me accountable to update my blog, alas life gets in the way yet again.

It’s been a crazy month or so, and I am now writing you loopy and jetlagged from Memphis, with a bit of country oozing from my little vintage jukebox radio as a kick-off to a 2 month stint back in the states. My first stop is here in Elvis’s hometown to attend the Saveur Blog Award ceremony (as my blog was nominated- grazie ancora to all y’all!) plus events their team has planned (I’ll be gramming and all that so be sure to follow/watch!). I mentioned before I lived in Memphis during my adolescent and teen years, and haven’t been back since. I never would have thought my return would be under such conditions. I am smiling.

So before I take off, I must close the most recent Sicily chapter with what I found tasty besides all the pistachio things. This little photo diary is from the same week I was in Sicily this late September, including a visit to Alice Bonaccorsi’s wild wine estate ValCerasa at the dirty south side of the volcano (thanks to the ever lovely Brittany Carlisi, who I dearly adore and am lucky to have connected with) and then in the throes of Catania’s epic fish and food market. Enjoy!

Alice’s vineyards, mix of old and new plantings and very wild, well-ventilated and beyond biodynamic
Brittany, my Sicilian wine Virgilio and legendary Alice Bonaccorsi, whose wines were the gateway to my obsession to Etna
you can’t see, but there is so much biodiversity in the way of flowers, herbs and such there are literally butterflies flying everywhere on this magical plot
Alice is pretty much the most darling woman ever and I’m obsessed
she grows tasty tomatoes thanks to mineral-rich volcanic soil
Keep your eyes peeled for these mineral-rich wines which will turn your palate away from fruit-driven whites and reds, in Etna elegant make-chard-run-for-its-money Catarratto reign for whites and brambly shun-your-pinot Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio for reds

On to peeks from Catania’s produce and fish market! I visited for the first time in 2007 while I was a study abroad student in Rome, and my this is a culinary time capsule which hasn’t changed. My greatest memories from a decade ago were sea salt scented puddly fish stands, hollerin’ mongers, wheels and slabs of salty sheep’s milk cheeses some goldened by saffron and polka’d by peppercorns and bone exposed hanging meats. Those elements still flooded my senses in 2018 and I sincerely wish you to go.

the land of nightshades
Loved all the convenience produce bowls sold at stands
not a manicured dainty farmer’s market- just soul, grit and dirt cheap mega fresh Sicilian produce
dried tangy cherry tomatoes and sea salt cured encrusted capers from Pantelleria- my 2 essential pantry items
if sounds could be blogged (good thing for IG stories!) these hollers were strangely like poetry to me
for the love of god will someone buy this man’s catches?!
swording pesce spada
market nooks
begging to be made into pasta alle vongole

The most memorable experience which I failed to document with my camera was a pot-bellied tattooed man in a butcher’s apron under an arch next to a bar kiosk at a cutting board table, slicing up blood sausage, raw nerves and guts. People waited patiently at their corner of the tagliere as if at a poker table, waiting for their hit. Once their pile of offal prepared, a generous hand squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper doused atop then proceeded to be demolished with toothpicks.

I was hypnotized by the whole energy and experience here. I stayed curiously peering from the sidelines, mousily asking in my Florentine-American accent if those were nerves or tripe. Belly offal chopper grunted and scooted a sample to my end, and it was one of the most delicious crunchy lemony olive oiled nerves I had the guts to eat. He smiled from his concentrated stare at my delight. He proceeded to offer a slice the pure blood sausage sanguinaccio and I couldn’t do it. I slumped away, his eyes like a sad puppy and one of the greatest regrets in my curious appetite career.

I went on to have a mediocre fish lunch in comparison to what could have been the most memorable bizarre street snack of my life, and said lunch wasn’t worth it to share. My first choice for lunch was Fratelli Vittorio as advised by Brittany, but was closed the day I was perusing. If you make it to the Catania market will you go and let me know? Oh, and also if you’re adventurous eat the the offal table (I think it’s called Vittorio & Figli)

after my fish binge, I went to sweeten my palate with Catania’s booby dolci, Le Minne di Sant’Agata, little cakes enveloped in pastry sugar fondue and filled with ricotta and marzipan with a risen cake base. These bits have a curious history and are an ode to the city’s patron saint.

For more of the sweet’s unique history, hit up this article! After the fish market, I went on a sugar binge at 2 cherry picked bakeries and gelaterie. I immensely enjoyed Caffe del Duomo  smack dab in the center

The second sugar joint was I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza, which was a bit more hidden behind the Sant’Agata cathedral which seemed like a museum and altar for artisanal, traditional sweets. They have an outpost at the Catania airport in case you missed them in the city, but I highly suggest making a visit to the original shop.

Pistachio and Lemon Granite is delightful

THE PISTACHIO OBSESSION NEVER ENDS

I promise the next posts will be in the tune to truffles and speaking of which, have you subscribed to my newsletter? You can subscribe in an entry form to the right of this post, our periodic mailing (one sending soon) will include news, dining guides and info on our gourmet club. This install of the gourmet club will include truffle things, and pistachios upon request:)

As far as my next moves/binges, I’ll be whirlwind’ing in America’s south for a bit (Memphis and Nashville, then off to my West Coast) so I’ll be more current/active on instagram.

In your food loving trust,

Curious Appetite

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