Marsala the taste of Sicily

The city of Marsala is the home and namesake of one of Sicily’s most ancient and popular wines. The town’s unique location on the western coast and its dry environment is part of the reason behind the deep flavour of Marsala. The coastal city’s sea breeze and pleasant weather throughout the year assures the health…

Smoky roasted Artichokes

The Sicilian spring is moody as the weather fluctuates between rain and days of glorious sun. The Sciroccio wind whips itself up from the African desert and pushes the seasons along. White blossoms in the fruit trees blend with shadowy greys. The spring is an armistice which allows the winter to gradually surrender itself and…

Springtime Asparagus

As the weather begins to warm the first fruits of spring literally ‘spring’ up from the new foliage. A favourite has to be wild asparagus which grows randomly and abundant throughout Italy. Asparagus is a member of the Lily family and is sought after for its tender, succulent, edible shoots. This plant has been cultivated for…

A Sicilian female trinity

The cult of the Patron Saint was developed by the early church which used the established pagan desire for multiple gods to lead people towards the Roman Catholic  religion. Reinforced by the Spanish domination of eighteenth century Sicily, the Italian peninsular still finds itself celebrating endless saintly patrons during the year, a tradition also widely…

Sicilian Impressions: Maschere

Carnival time in Italy is filled with endless fried desserts, parades, tricks and masquerade. The masks can be beautiful like the ones at Venice’s world famous Carnevale or terribly ugly like these. When you see one do not be afraid, they are harmless they only want to be offered a glass of wine or mime…

Sicilian Impressions: Belvedere

Stopping at a 'belvedere' or lookout on the side of a Sicilian mountain road will give you a spectacular surprise and a sense of the expansive nature of Sicily. On a clear day you will feel like you are in the heavens looking out onto a new world. The closest belvedere to me looks out…

Sicilian Impressions: Landscape

Sicilians are at one with their landscape, their towns and houses peek out from behind the vegetation like large boulders which seem to have always been there.

Sicilian Impressions: By road

I cannot reiterate enough the joys of exploring Sicily by car, it is easy to zig zag the island through mountains and valleys, weaving your way through endless small towns. Sicily by road means effortlessly experiencing the ins and outs of the islands landscape and stopping at a local roadside Trattoria or family run restaurant…

Sicilian Impressions: Beaches

In the middle of the winter I always get nostalgic about summer and the beach. I have always had a difficult time with Sicilian beaches and their rocky nature, I miss sandy Australian beaches. I like the sparse rustic nature of the coastline which gives me the sense the beach belongs to me. I also have…

Sicilian Impressions: Cannoli

Sicilian desserts are world famous but the most decadent has to be deep fried cannoli tubes which are filled with ricotta or fresh custard cream. They are a special treat and are often given as gifts for Christmas and Easter. The empty golden shells are tiny works of art ready to be filled with sweetness.

How to peel a fico d’india

The exotic prickly pear (fico d’india) is a delicacy in Sicily and thrives around the entire island. Known also as the Barbary fig (opuntia ficus-indica) it is a species of cactus cultivated throughout the world in arid and semiarid areas and is thought to be native to Mexico. It is best to taste them after…

Fall in Sicily

The beginning of Autumn in Sicily can be abrupt. The gradual changes from one season to the next are now a thing of the past, there are no more slightly shortening days or time for the leaves to go from greens, yellows, warm rusty reds or browns, now the fall begins with heavy rains and…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

Squeezing those grapes

We're well and truly into the swing of Autumn/Fall here in Sicily even if it seems the weather has forgotten what time of year it is and the Sirocco wind is wreaking havoc withering everything it touches. For those unfamiliar with the term Sirocco here's a definition from our friends at Wikipedia: Sirocco, scirocco, /sɪˈrɒkoʊ/,…