Have you ever bitten into a tomato as you would an apple? I developed this habit when I was living in Catania cause the tomatoes are really as good as apples. Where I’m from in California, we have good produce, but a Sicilian tomato cannot be replicated and American tomatoes are tasteless seed balls in comparison.
Naturally my love affair with tomatoes was therefore born in Sicily. I’ve thought a lot about this as over the years I’ve tried to replicate my favorite Sicilian dishes in San Diego, and I think it comes down to the rich volcanic soil and the perfect climate in Sicily. Top notch produce and fresh ingredients are really what make Sicilian cuisine special. I love to therefore take my favorite hobby abroad, grocery shopping!
One of the top attractions in Sicily are the open air markets that you find in just about any town. The variety of fruit and vegetables is pretty standard with a few wild cards. You have your eggplant, garlic, tomatoes, oranges, watermelon… Then you have what looks like green blackberries and giant mutant figs of the gods.
Some of my meals while traveling consisted of fresh apricots peppers cheese and olives bought right from the stands, and that was completely satisfying. Of course the restaurants were nothing to frown at, but again all Sicilian food begins with swordfish right off the boat or that juicy tomato of perfection and to understand go directly to the source. Take a peek at my market exploration!
Exploring Sicilian Markets, a set on Flickr.