In every corner of the island, food is an art and culture.
Food festivals and parties, organized to celebrate the best products, are spread everywhere.
Let’s start with pistachio, a gastronomic jewel of Bronte, in the province of Catania: in September, the pistachio is a protagonist during the festival. For the occasion, there are free guided tours through the historic center of Bronte and contemporary art exhibitions.
Also in September, in San Vito Lo Capo, near Trapani, there is the Cous Cous Fest: ten days of exciting culinary competitions, couscous tastings, cooking shows of star chefs, cooking classes for adults and children, and concerts nearby the beautiful beach.
Cous Cous Fest is not just food: it is the International Festival of cultural integration, an event that celebrates the cous cous dish as peace between peoples.
A dream in late summer is the Festival of wheat and bread in September: two days of revival of the simple peasant world in Catenanuova, in the province of Enna. You can taste the typical products accompanied by songs, people dressed like in the 40s, dances, and folk music.
Vastedda del Belice e pane nero di Castelvetrano – ph. P. Barone
About bread, let’s taste the black bread of Castelvetrano, near Trapani, made by mixing two durum Sicilian blond wheat and a rare local variety of durum wheat, the tumminia, both whole and ground in natural stone mills.
Let’s go to San Cono, in the province of Catania, for the Festival of Prickly Pear: since 1984, every year in October, the world’s number one Sicilian fruit is celebrated.
Even in Roccapalumba, near Palermo, and in Santa Margherita Belice, Agrigento, in October we find taste workshops, guided tastings, and sweets with the prickly pear, and a whole menu based on this tasty fruit.
Sicily also produces a preparation with prickly pears, called mustard: let’s taste it in Gagliano Castelferrato, in the province of Enna, and in Militello Val di Catania, near Catania.
Mostarda di Fichidindia – ph. Paolo Barone
In October, in the small town of Zafferana on Etna, the Ottobrata Zafferanese takes place: a weekend dedicated to apples, mushrooms, honey, and chestnuts with the involvement of cooking schools that prepare meals for the visitors.
The star of the autumn in Capizzi, near Messina, is the truffle: the festival takes place in October.
In December we move to Modica, near Ragusa, to celebrate its gem: chocolate. You should take part to the Choco-Modica and celebrate chocolate among the baroque wonders in the town.
Cioccolato di Modica – ph. Paolo Barone
In April, you should not miss the Festival of the ricotta cannoli in Piana degli Albanesi, in the province of Palermo. Pastries throughout the town make cannoli and cassate daily, covered with icing, candied fruit, and chocolate chips. To contrast the overdose of sweetness, let’s walk in the streets of the village, where stands and displays expose typical handcrafted products from Sicily. The day ends with music, entertainment and performances by local folk groups.
Let’s discover the cassatella with ricotta di Agira, in the province of Enna: it is delicious with pistachio, almond, chocolate and with other tastes. The festival in its honor is in November.
In Sicily the artichoke can also become a sweet. It happens in Cerda, in the province of Palermo, during the Artichoke Festival, in April 25th: you can have a full lunch of artichoke products among street events.
Do not miss the festival of ricotta cheese in Vizzini, in the province of Catania, in late April: a cultural and gastronomic event that highlights the great production of fresh and seasoned cheese.
Let’s taste the cheese of Nebrodi in Cesarò and not miss the Festival of the black pig and porcini mushrooms in November.
Sagra del pesce – ph. Paolo Barone
In the summer, let’s savor the absolute star of the island: fish. There are many opportunities to taste it and many festivals in different parts of Sicily. Some places are Lipari, the Aeolian Islands, Capo d’ Orlando, near Messina, and Riposto near Catania.
This is just a little preview of Sicilian culinary art and culture.
Let’s conclude with the Paranza Fest, in the picturesque fishing village of Acicastello, in August: you can taste hot and fragrant fried fish while walking by the sea.
For other specialties let’s enjoy the surprise: let’s discover everything else along the way…
Sicily Wine and Food