Take inspiration from the region’s rich culinary offerings.
By Joanna Pruess
Sicily, Italy’s southernmost region, was long considered a strategic position on trade routes because it is located close to Africa and is surrounded by the Mediterranean. As a result, Sicilian cuisine reflects centuries of invaders—Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Bourbons and others—who were ultimately absorbed into the culture. The land proved to be a fertile environment in which to grow olives, capers, fennel and artichokes—all important local ingredients.
Among the most significant culinary contributions to the island’s cooking were those brought by the Arabs. This group introduced sugarcane and new varieties of citrus fruits that are used in desserts like cassata, cannoli and gelati, as well as in dishes with a combination of sweet and savory flavors that define Sicilian cooking. There is also an enormous amount of fresh local fish used, including tuna and swordfish, which is often grilled with herbs and lemon. From dishes that are eaten uncooked or grilled simply to those dishes with complex flavors, Sicily offers many tastes to savor.