Curious Appetite

SICILY

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

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