Separated from the main continent by the Straight of Messina and enclosed by the Ionian, Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas, Sicily is Italy's largest island. Surrounding the mainland are charming islands, including the Aeolian Islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi,  Salina, Alicudi and Panarea), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the East coast of the island is Etna (largest active volcano in Europe), centuries of mass eruptions have shaped a beautiful landscape that boasts magnificent mountains and hills. Volcanic explosions have also resulted in the island producing highly fertile soil, which means fresh seasonal ingredients are readily available, because of this Sicily is often referred to as 'God's Kitchen.' A land blessed my mother nature; the magnificent island of Sicily boasts glorious sceneries, aromas, and flavours of pure nature. 

Throughout history, Sicily was never far from centre-stage in regional politics and was very often a theatre of war; this was because of the island's abundance of natural resources and strategic position on ancient trading routes. Over the centuries, Sicily was controlled by many greater powers, most significantly the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French, Germans and Spanish. Invasions, tyrants, and battles did eventually give way to centuries of relative peace and prosperity as a Roman province. Today Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy; it has always had its distinct culture.

The dry, sunny climate, scenery, and history bring many tourists from Italy and abroad, however, food and wine are among Sicily's main attractions. From cannoli to arancini, Sicilian cuisine is world famous and interestingly diverse. Categorised as Italian food, Sicilian cuisine is so much more; a melting pot of all the different cultures that have called the island home throughout its complicated history.

Many Sicilian dishes are termed Arab legacies, because of Sicily’s penchant for stuffed foods and wide use of ingredients such as almonds, aniseed, apricots, artichokes, cinnamon, oranges, pistachio, pomegranates, saffron, sesame, spinach, sugarcane, watermelon and rice, all of which can be traced back to the Arab conquest.

The Greeks, who were the first real colonizers of Sicily, planted olive trees and grape vines, building a considerable reputation for Sicilian wine.  Once famous for sweet Muscats, and later fortified Marsala, today Sicily's most celebrated wines are dry table wines cultivated under the regional IGT title, Terre Siciliane. Nero d’Ávola is the most widely planted red grape variety in Sicily, and the Catarratto grape variety, grown almost exclusively in Sicily, is mostly used in the production of light, easy-drinking white wines.

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April 12, 2016 by Il Providore (Main Login)
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