May 15

A Sweet Stay in Sicily: What to Eat in Palermo

by in food, italy

An early spring trip to Sicily was a welcome break for my husband and I despite the rain and wind during our stay in Palermo. The weather certainly didn’t dampen our appetites as we tasted our way around the city, enjoying so many specialities, especially the sweets.

Ok, hang on … I’ll get to the sweet stuff but first I have to say we arrived perfectly in artichoke season and since we were staying in a studio apartment we found on Airbnb, we happily shopped the outdoor markets such as Mercato il Capo and Mercato Vucciria and took advantage of the tender artichokes and fresh mozzarella. These simple dinners, complimented with olives and fresh bread and local olive oil, were the light and tasty end to a few of our long travel days. I would happily eat artichokes every day if I could.

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And for savoury street food, well, you cannot escape Sicily without trying arancini, delicious deep-fried balls of rice some stuffed with local mushrooms, others with meats, cheeses, herbs and more. The biggest variety of arancini in Palermo you will find at Ke Palle, where it’s certainly worth the wait to taste this local specialty. Order more than one. Trust me.

arancini: a must-eat in Palermo

On to the sweet side of Sicily …

We had our fair share of desserts on this trip and I surprisingly got away without a pimple or extra pound to be found! I guess the all the fresh air and long days walking balanced things out.

The cakes and cannoli we ate on this trip were all so creamy, ricotta everywhere! Never too sweet and always the perfect size, leaving you wanting just one more bite, just enough to make you come back for another one the next day.

The real royal treat in Sicily was the frutta di Martorana, or frutta reale as it’s called in other parts of Italy, meaning both “real” and “royal”. You might know it as marzipan. An artful sweet made of local almonds, carefully crafted and designed into colourful fruit-like forms. As we visited during Easter holiday, there were also an abundance of marzipan lambs. Either way, they all taste the same but almost look too pretty to eat!

 frutta di Martorana

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During our one-week stay we rented a car and roadtripped in Sicily from Palermo to San Vito Lo Capo to Erice to Trapani to Castellammare del Golfo and back to Palermo. It was on the way up to San Vito Lo Capo that we found amazing views and local honey! Who can resist?

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The pistachio honey disappeared quickly after our return, with a little butter on fresh rye bread with my morning coffee. It was so perfect and delicate in it’s flavour, I can still taste it in my mind!

Despite having already tasted so many sweets in Sicily, more than half-way through our trip, I still hadn’t tested what I set out to since the beginning … bring on the ice cream sandwich! An ice cream sandwich like you have never seen or had an ice cream sandwich before! Sicily is known for it’s gelato stuffed brioche and had the weather been warmer, I would have been eating these for breakfast!

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My last toothsome goal was to get my hands on a cassata or two. I can’t believe in all my travels I had never had this treat before. I knew from my pre-trip research that this was a must-have dessert so I was not about to depart without one on my tongue. At Palermo airport, my husband and I finally and happily shared this rich ricotta and sponge cake dessert! A perfect farewell.

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I usually travel using airbnb and my experiences, both as a guest and host, have largely been fantastic. If you have never used airbnb before, you can try it out with 18€ off your first airbnb booking here.

 

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