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I did not eat any of the marzipan though we were intrigued by some that looked like partially peeled tangerines. Some pretty spectacular work with that stuff.

I did get one bar of Torrone Siciliano Classico by Torroncini della Madonie Fiasconaro. Many bars of chocolate from Bonajuto and other Modica purveyors. Some Croccantino al Pistacchio. A big bag of Bronte pistacchios too - those are almost gone.

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Well, it's going to happen, second half of this month. All I know is we are flying in and out of Palermo (some day I will get the hang of returning from another city. Maybe not.)   We've got Lonely

yeah lame   I was about five minutes from an unplanned night in Munich yesterday. My kids were really excited at the prospect.

http://www.marzipanworld.com/ (based in the U.K. and Italy... delivers worldwide). Just sayin'


Those are crude attempts at the artistry shown in Sicily. I'm sorry to say I did not take pictures. I mean, those tangerines, you'd want to pick off the fine white strings, and check for soft spots! Really took some close examination to decide what was marzipan.

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  • 1 year later...

The retired Rome Bureau Chief of the NY Times reports on her excursions in Sicily. This trip covers the southeastern quadrant of the island a land of hot Summers, dusty hills, and many Sicilian Baroque churches.


She notes the agriturismo often provide dinner as well as breakfast. I wasn't aware of that.




We started with a feast of local specialties — from baked ricotta with wild fennel and thistle to marmalades made from onions, wild pears and Sicilian blood oranges; arancini (rice balls coated with bread crumbs); a selection of fish antipasti; various pasta dishes and — the pièce de résistance — a local sausage that was the culinary star of the town’s carnival festivities, just then winding down in the main piazza.


NY Times: http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/travel/on-a-road-trip-in-sicily-churches-everywhere.html?pagewanted=1&ref=travel




Near Palazzolo Acreide:
The charming Anapama B & B (39-380-3743773; anapama.it; info@anapama.it) is reachable with help from the owner, who will guide you from the center of Palazzolo to her valley retreat. An ideal location for the hot Sicilian summers, with swimming pool and horses. Rates are 70 euros per couple per night, or $87.50 at $1.25 to the euro; 90 euros in July and August.

In Ragusa:
Il Barocco
(39-0-932-663-105; ilbarocco.it; info@ilbarocco.it) is right in the heart of Ragusa Ibla, just a stroll away from the main piazza. Rates for a double range from 90 to 125 euros a night; an excellent breakfast, with fruits and pastries, is included.

In Ortygia, Syracuse:
Hotel Gutkowski
(39-0931-465861; guthotel.it) is small, elegant and simple, on the seafront. A double room costs 130 euros.


In Palazzolo Acreide:
Lo Scrigno dei Sapori
(Via Maddalena, 50; 39-0931-188-2941; loscrignodeisapori.com) is closed Mondays. Order the degustazione antipasti rustici with a rich offering of local specialties.

Trattoria del Gallo (Via Roma, 228; 39-0931-881334) has good Sicilian fare, fresh ricotta, sausages, olives, at extremely reasonable prices.


TripAdvisor has a number of very positive comments on Lo Scrigno dei Sapori.

Trip Advisor:


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We've never been to Sicily before & we've always done our own traveling in Italy, renting a car and setting our own itinerary. But, this time, one of Ginny's tennis friends told her that she'd already set up a group of 5 friends for a tour of Sicily, organized by another friend who runs a tour company, and would we like to join in and spend a little over 2 weeks with them, making it a full van of 7 or 8? Sure, why not? So, off we go in 6 weeks for a mid-Sept to early Oct. trip to Sicily. Most of the itinerary, including wine tours, many lunches and half the dinners, are already set & seem just fine. However, we're coming into Catania a day early and the tour doesn't include other Catania dinners (we're based there for several nights), so I'd like to find places for 4 dinners inside Catania or a short taxi ride away (as we won't have independent transportation). Yep, 4. So far we have Osteria Antica Marina penciled in, as it's pretty well known (and was recommended on CH several years ago by Maureen Fant, someone whose opinions I respect) & I will research some mentioned in CH threads even older than this to see if they're still around. Any recent recommendations?


And, while we're at it, we also have to come up with 2 dinner places in Aragona -- yes, Aragona -- that's 16kms. northeast of Agrigento. Since I enjoy ferreting out these kind of places (a vestige from my old CH days), I'm already interrogating every friend I have in Brooklyn whose family comes from Sicily to see what they know or can find out. I'm sure we'll find places to eat well. Anyone here pass thru Aragona and want to win the esoteric recommendation of the year award?

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Never did write up our 3 week visit to Sicily this past Sept-Oct (& probably wont get around to it either). If anyone wants details, feel free to let me know. Growing up in Brooklyn and then going to Northern Italy quite a few times, I wondered how they could be so different. Nothing in any part of Northern Italy really reminded me of the environment or the foods I ate from the Italian places in Bklyn. Well, Palermo and Catania especially felt like “home”, only done better and fresher. The street foods that FoodDabbler photo’ed early in this thread were all excellent & better versions than I get at Joe’s of Ave U or Ferdinando’s or any of the Sicilian places I grew up around. And, yes, the marzipan put the stuff I’ve eaten to shame, both artistically and taste wise. Over the course of our trip, we stayed in hotels in Catania and Palermo, doing day trips to other cities and points of interest and we also stayed in the beach resort Cefalu, an agritourismo near Agrigento (where we ate home cooked dinners from their garden and farm, so I didn’t need to find restaurants after all), and the wine resort (Baglio Soria) near Trapani run by Firriato (very nice wines in a slightly attitudinal upscale setting). Highlight areas outside the cities included Mazara del Vallo, Mt. Etna, a small town near our agritourismo, the ruins, the mosaics, & a hill town outside Cefalu. Great time, great organized itinerary. I highly recommend using Karen La Rosa, a NYC based Sicilian specialist, who leads tours or sets up everything for you/your group, as she did with us.

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Just booked Sicily for March.  IDK feeling daunted by the planning for this trip for some reason. Into and out of Catania - purely due to logistics reasons. 10 days. Thoughts? Other than a desire to see Etna and Naturalista winemakers we're pretty much an blank sheet. Two kids along, no real desire to do Michelin level stuff.  

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No - the issue just was being super busy with work and not being able to plan on our own. 

But anywho we're back.  Ended up basing ourselves in Ortigia for the first bit and daytripping to Ragusa Ibla & Noto. Then switched ourselves up to the north slope of Etna for three nights and then finally two nights in Catania.   Food was generally good not great. 

So I take it from reading elsewhere that the Baroque towns have become complete touristic nightmares.  Well we experienced something the opposite of that.  They were pretty much ghost towns.   Restaurants often closed (both of the famous Pastry place in Noto for example were closed) and hotels - especially coutryside ones were closed. We even had a place on Etna take our booking and then decide not to open.   Plus cold and rain in places optimized for heat and sun - just not great. 

Ortigia is very very touristic - our tour guide even acknowledged that basically no one from there lives there anymore (they've all move to the modern city built to serve the petrochems industry on the other side of the hill.  That said I thought L'Ancora the "best seafood place in town" per the interwebs was quite good especially when kept simple.   I visited a place in the slowfood guide on night one very near to our hotel "Taberna Sveva" that was fine and well priced.  We went to another place "dionysus" that was fine, but much more expensive than the other places and not worth the cost.   The places in the market are again, pretty good for what they are - which is mostly selling you brought in products of high quality.  A note - with solid wine I struggled to spend >100 euros for a family of 4 unless we went crazy on expensive fish.  Also went to a pizza place for one dinner - it was a good pizza place and nice break but I suspect there are other options just as good. "Anima e Core." Had great pastry and gelato in town at the main places on the main drags off the duomo as well as Voglia Matta for Gelato just on the main land.

Ragusa Ibla is beautiful (its also home to what is reputed to be the best fine dining place in this part of Sicily - where we didn't go) and there are some slow food reccs there. we ate at a non descript place off the tourist strip that was just fine.

Noto was also nice - but Caffe Sicilia was closed. Bummer.

Etna - Benanti was a very very polished tasting/lunch concept. A little too promotional. Confirmed my view they make the best whites in the region - actually slightly prefer the junior Contrada to the big dawg Pietramarina.  Went to a few smaller places (Vino Di Anna). Had an incredible time with Girolamo Russo tasting with another couple from Siena. It was great.   Didn't eat particularly well there. but the wine stuff felt young and undercapitalized and exciting in a way more established regions don't.  Hiking Etna and just seeing Etna was super cool.  Lava flows around vineyards is a unique thing  Cave Ox is the obvious hipster wine/pizza place - but you'll figure that out with out me telling you.

Catania- I am too young to have vistied 80's Barcelona - but I imagine Catania today is a little like that but without the hope of EU funding coming running. We were there for two nights and ate at better touristic places - Il Bel'Antonio for fish (good) and Me Cumpari Turridu (also good) but I'm sure you could do much better. I'm sure there is some super cool stuff you could find here if you just spent a week hanging around. Really an example of how the death of blogs has made finding interesting things harder. Generally Sicily is pretty poorly covered in the US media. I'd imagine given their levels on the ground German Foodies are all over Catania.   Would recommend as a city just for a vibe. Not much in the way of sites.  Fish Market pretty cool.


Steve R is bang on when he said the food rhymes with better I-A stuff in ways other regions of Italy don't.  Also lots of towns with the last name of childhood friends. And  disturbing similarity in the way people looked relative to friends from home.  But lets not get skeevy here at the end. 

So a good trip, but maybe not a great trip.



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