On Wednesday I told you about the Phoenicians, the first Super-power of the ancient world and Sicily’s first colonists. Today, let’s see what the Greeks did for Sicily. The ancient Greeks: the second superpower The Greeks copied the Phoenicians by founding coastal colonies all over the Mediterranean from the 8th century B.C. onwards. We call … More The Three Ancient Super-Powers: Part 2, The Greeks
It may be hard to imagine, these days, that Sicily was once the cradle of European civilisation. Three super-powers battled for supremacy and Sicily was the centre of it all. Today, I’ll tell you about the Phoenicians, the earliest super-power and Sicily’s first colonists. Carthaginians and Phoenicians: the first empire The Phoenicians were the first … More The Three Ancient Super-Powers: Part 1, The Phoenicians
The people of San Biagio Platano, a village in south-western Sicily, have celebrated Easter every year since the 1700’s by decorating their streets with arches and towers made of bread. The entire community spends three months turning the place into a gingerbread village… yet Hansel and Gretel never come! For this Archi di Pane … More Loafing around in Sicily’s Gingerbread Village
Delicious juicy oranges and succulent lemons are one of the first things that spring to mind when most people think of Sicily. The other, unfortunately, is the Mafia, but few outsiders realise how closely they are connected. Citrus fruit trees were brought to Sicily by the Muslim invaders from North Africa in the 11th century … More Sour, Corrupt and dominated by the Mafia: The Citrus Industry in Sicily
A watermelon stall in Bagheria. That yellow sign, written hilariously in Sicilian, says: “Only one person in Bagheria sells watermelons which are red and sweet. They call him Francu, King of the watermelons.”
Foreigners think English food is awful, and I know why. It’s because they don’t know how to eat it. I served a roast dinner to my outlaws at Christmas a few years ago. They took some potatoes, which sat all lonely and solitary in the middle of their plates. After eating them in dry, disappointed … More The Tentacles of Doom
The other day we stopped at the greengrocers – which is normally a roadside stall in Sicily – and my son started making a big fuss over this cage of snails. Most eight-year-olds would either want to play with them or, if particularly sensitive types, perhaps want to liberate them. Not my son. He wanted … More Snails for dinner, anyone?
I photographed these traditional Sicilian market stalls during the village festival this summer. They sell all kinds of nuts, and a few typical sweets as well. The vendors travel around Sicily from village festival to village festival – there’s always one going on somewhere – livening the streets up and selling their healthy snacks. The … More Fancy some nuts?
We are all used to buying imported and exotic foods in our local supermarket these days, and seeing Jamie Oliver on TV wagging spaghetti about and telling us to grow “some lavly fresh basil” on our windowsills. Jamie has become the global marketing manager for Italian food these days. But how would you market … More Q: Who promoted Italian food before Jamie Oliver? A: Renato Guttuso!
A wonderful guest post called Sicily vs. England, written for my blog by Pecora Nera, turned out to be so popular that it inspired another great Sicilian blogger, Rochelle Del Borello of Unwilling Expat, to write this article – Sicily vs. Australia – for my blog. ***** The beauty of experiencing different cultures is seeing how they … More Sicily vs. Australia
When I got married, I was given a 35 person dinner service which had belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Not just a 35 person dinner service, but a nine-course 35 person dinner service. “I’m sorry a couple of items have got broken over the years,” my mother-in-law, The Godmother, apologised. A couple of pieces missing? Did … More Seven Top Tips: How to cook pasta like a real Sicilian Godmother
Last week a friend’s little boy was eagerly – indeed passionately – telling me about what he called “the Jewish Easter”. When I realised he meant Passover, it suddenly struck me that the Italian word for Easter – Pasqua – is derived from Pesach, Hebrew for Passover. He had learned about the Jewish flight from … More Happy Easter!
Sicilians absolutely love sea urchins – as food, rather than as wildlife. They crack them open and eat them raw by scooping their insides out with a piece of bread. This is why, off many parts of the Sicilian coast, sea urchins are becoming rare. We went to the stunning Lo Zingaro nature reserve at the … More Sea Urchins, Anyone?
Sicilians are a romantic lot and they love St. Valentine’s Day. Rather than give their girlfriend sweets or champagne, most Sicilian men are more likely to take her out for a delicious organic Italian ice-cream. What better way to wish all my readers Happy Valentine’s Day than by sharing this marvellous advertisement I saw in our local … More Happy Valentine’s Day with some Kinky Chocolate