Curious Appetite

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Feasting in Sicily: Bronte’s Annual Pistachio Festival 2018

pistachios at a roadside produce stand, Bronte, Sicily

In May, I made a pilgrimage to my nonniland in Sicily to chase down pistachios in Bronte, wines on Etna, cheesemaking with the Sicilian tattooed Freddie Mercury, chocolate in Modica, wines in Sicily’s lone DOCG Vittoria by Arianna Occhipinti and more.

I wrote about the Etna leg on this blog post (i.e. pistachios, Etna wines and renegade cheesemaking) but I never quite got around to recounting Modica and Vittoria. I promise, in due time I will recount Italy’s most fascinating chocolate capital and the badass woman winemaker/trailblazer Arianna Occhipinti in Sicily’s lone DOCG Vittoria.

For now, I’ll recount what it was like to visit Bronte’s Annual Pistachio festival aka Expo del Pistacchio. My next post will detail why Catania’s La Pescheria might be one of the best markets in the world- so brace yourself for a flurry of blog posts! Continue Reading

Feasting on Volcanic Etna in Sicily: Wine, Pistachios and Granita

roadside cannoli in Bronte, Sicily

For as long as I can remember, Sicily has been a distant curiosity. And not because I’ve never been- anzi. Post study abroad in Rome during a Spring/Summer of 2007 I took a trip through Sicily via Catania, Agrigento and Palermo. 10+ years later at my current stage of culinary curiosity- I wanted to return to Sicily. I decided, this place needed to be mine- at least for a few fleeting days.

For Sicilian food excellence, you hear mostly about Sicilian sweets- crispy fried shell smooth sweetened ricotta cannoli, marzipan enveloped cassata, mounds of almond granita said to be breakfast, cookies packed with pistachios of Bronte, luscious bold chocolate from Modica. Of course, Sicily is more than sweets. This place is a treasure chest of pastas, meats, cheeses and specialty ingredients like olive oil, saffron and pistachios.

I reached out to sommelier & Etna expert Brittany Carlisi with a wish-list to help make it happen. This post details what ensued over 4 days in the Mt. Etna area of Sicily. The subsequent 4 days of this trip covered Noto, Modica and Vittoria but I’ll get to that in a a future post. Continue Reading

Pasta con le sarde- Cucina povera from Sicily

A love letter to Modica and ode to 2018- meat cookies and all

I traveled to Modica for chocolate and all I got was this meat cookie 😉 Taken from the balcony of where I stayed: Anime a Sud

I’m painfully slow when it comes to jotting my travels back to you. I blame the ease of Instagram for my lack of consistency in travelogue’ing. Snippets and soundbites are all too easy to upload! But a blog post requires me behind a screen after work…which is again usually behind a screen….you see the dilemma?

As the sun spills in my little study nook in San Francisco I’m currently dwelling in, crunching away at a bowl of fresh pomegranate fruit, I reminisce over my visit to Modica this past May and of this year coming to a close. It’s been a fruitful year in many ways: I became a certified sommelier after nearly a year of studying, this blog was selected as a Finalist for Saveur Annual Blog Awards, loads of great meals and time with dear ones had and I was lucky enough to travel between San Francisco and Italy for a good chunk of the year, including 2 jaunts to Sicily. Continue Reading

Volcanic Wine, Fishing at Catania’s Pescheria Market and Breasty Sweets

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. Continue Reading

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