Eating Local in Sicily

The Traveling Table

Eating Local in Sicily

Sicilians eat far more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts (especially almonds and pistachios) than we do in America. They favor seafood over red meat, and they consume far fewer eggs and dairy products (except cheese or yogurt—often made from sheep or goat milk). Local olive oil gets the nod over butter.

The ancient coastal city of Catania lies in the shadow of Mount Etna (known locally as Mama Etna, or simple The Mountain). The soils on the volcano's lower slopes are exceptionally rich in minerals and nutrients that impart special flavor to the fruits and vegetables grown in them. Even the fish in the local waters have a distinctive flavor.

Nowhere is the abundance of local food more evident than Catania's largest open-air street market, La Fiera (The Fair), where all manner of perfectly ripe vegetables are on display, along with fresh meats (including cavallo, horsemeat, a Catania specialty) and, of course, the catch of the day.

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