Saturday, September 24, 2016

Where Food and Love Intertwine

I put up a post at my sister-blog, The Pedestrian Palate.  This one is not a recipe, but a story of how food and love can intersect.  Not my usual snarky fare...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sicily. Your Mother Just Won't Understand

When I told my mom that we were going back to Italy for another visit, she gave an exasperated sigh, said okay and basically hung up the phone on me. I get it, she doesn't get it.  However, she does not have to get it.  She stopped paying for my vacations somewhere south of my 18th birthday.

In spite of my protestations to my mother about the fact that this trip was going to be different, that we were going to Sicily first for a few days to see the country that my maternal grandmother and my husband's paternal grandparents all came from, my mother still assumed that it was a re-do of trips gone by.  But to suggest that Sicily is the same as the rest of Italy is not accurate. Not even close.

Siclily, like all regions of Italy, is very much a place unto itself.  A place with its own jumbled up culture, language and wonderful people. It is a place that has been conquered more frequently than (insert the name of your loosest friend here), and as a result has influences in the food, architecure and culture from the Greeks, Romans, Arabians, Northern Afticans and Spanish (to name a few). Funny, I just realized that the previous sentence reads like my husband's 23 and me results...a topic for another day.

After 5 days in Sicly, we returned to our favorite place in the world - Rome.  Rome fits like an old leather glove, but as broken in and worn as it may be, it never loses its beauty.  Upon review of our pictures from both places, the stark contrast is clear.  Sicily is earthy and the people are expressive and there seem to be few rules.  I have selected some of my favorite pictures from the Sicily portion of the trip that most clearly illustrate the immense beauty and quirky nature of the Sicilian island.

There is so much more to see, so sorry mom, I have every intention of going back.

Walking the dog, Ortigia-style.

Everyone was getting married while we were in Ortigia. Brides a-pelnty. This one arrived in style.


Burrata in a cold tomato soup with croutons. Pure genius.

This was a fish called Spatula.  If we had seen it in its natural state prior to the artful presentation below, we might have thought twice.  What this chef did to that ugly creature was nothing short of magical. ( image of the toothy fellow here, if you dare - http://www.totalfisherman.com/alligator_gar.htmlhttp://www.totalfisherman.com/alligator_gar.html )



Grape hauling cart from the old days.  One side had scenes of drunks enjoying the fruits of their labor, the other had saints blessing the harvest.  I related more to the side shown.

It was about 2 weeks from harvest when we visited the Benanti Winery just outside of Catania and the grapes looked ready to burst. 
he winery sits on the slopes of Mt Etna and the volcanic soil produces the most amazing grapes.








Amazing meats and cheeses prepared for our tasting at Benanti.
The cheese with a dark rind on the end? Oven baked fresh ricotta. No words.


 We spent afternoons drinking wine here. Relaxing and beautiful.


Breakfast.

We found this guy at 3400 ft elevation on a winding mountain road. He mean mugged us, but we didn't sweat him. We kept on truckin'.

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archemide at night.

View from the streets of Chiaramonte Gulfi, high in the hills of Sicily.




The sea urchin is so plentiful in Ortigia that there are huge baskets of them hauled into the market every day. I couldn't help but think about the street value of these things in NY. 

Vespas and cats everywhere and usually together, for some reason.

Persimmon.  Never ate one, but it looks pretty.

Greek ruins all over the joint.

Anybody spot Uncle Jun?  He clocked us the entire time we were at that cafe. Must have thought we were there to steal his cornetto.








***These quirky pictures of Sicily are mine all mine and not to be re-published or used for any purpose without permission.***