|Almond ice cream at Caffe Sicilia, Noto|
“How many gelati have you had today Mum?” asked one daughter on our recent trip to Sicily.
“It must be at least four maybe even five!” said other daughter in a disapproving tone.
I was suddenly aware of the parent /child roles reversing. Surely it should be me reprimanding them for eating too many ice creams shouldn’t it?
The extreme heat and the desire to taste all the amazing flavours on offer proved just too tempting for me!!
“Hey who’s counting,” I relied as I slurped another almond ice cream happily, (not wanting to admit that it was probably my fifth..)
“Anyway, some of them were granita’s, and they’re really just like frozen drinks so they can’t count!!” I replied unconvincingly!
With temperatures of 35 degrees and above, I felt my gelato gluttony was justified!
Everything about Sicily is just so wonderful.
|Gardens in Noto|
The climate is consistently warm, the people friendly and the food..sigh...the food is just gorgeous! Then there’s the ice cream!!
I had thought I would do the odd post whilst away but NO CHANCE!
I was far too busy eating gelato and wandering around Greek amphitheatres and temple ruins. Not to mention swimming in the crystal clear water of three different seas...I won’t go on!
We stayed with some fantastic people who were generous in explaining more about the history and cultural influences of their island, all of which helped deepen our respect for the people and their food.
|Almond groves in Southern Sicily|
The hill sides around Noto, the Baroque town in the South, are dotted with almond groves. Almonds feature heavily in the cuisine of the Southern regions. In cakes, pasta sauces and gelatti is no exception.
|Cathedral, Noto, Sicily|
In Noto I had my first almond gelatti...it was so subtle, so delicate, so refreshing...
Obviously in the name of research I had to sample a huge range of gelatti and granitas...flavours include watermelon, peach, mandarin, orange, lemon, basil, pistachio...the list is endless..but the almond gelato in the south was just so special.
We visited run down looking gelatteri, and beach vendors to the smart Cafe Sicilia
in Noto where the waiters are immaculate and the flavours a work of art!
Here we tried the almond and cinnamon gelato, which was so smooth and subtle it was incredible and the basil ice-cream.
|Saffron ice cream and basil ice cream, Noto, Sicily|
One of the most refreshing granita’s was from a beach vendor walking along the crowded beach near Agrigento pushing his huge papier-mâché lemon on a trolley, that he restocked throughout the day with delicious lemon granita.
|Lemon granita guy, on the beach near Agrigento Sicily|
So apologies for my silence and lack of posts.
I have come back inspired by the different flavours of the simple traditional Sicilain dishes. Their food is perfect for the teenage vegetarian and their family as we found out.
They use a great mixture of nuts, fresh and dried fruit, vegetables and herbs with pasta and fish....delicious!
In the mean time I leave you with a recipe for a citrus lemon ice devised back here by Not Just For Rabbits but inspired by tastes of Sicily.
It’s simple to make and so refreshing for this warm weather we are finally having here in England.
Cooling time 40 minutes
Freezing time 4 hours minimum
½ litre of freshly squeezed lemon, orange and lime juice (roughly 8-10 lemons depending on size, one orange and a lime)
The Zest of one each of the above fruits
300g caster sugar
½ litre of water
WHAT TO DO:
1. Mix the water and sugar together in a saucepan and simmer on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and it has become more like a syrup. Cool.
2. Grate the zest of one lemon the orange and lime and keep separately.
3. Juice and sieve the lemons, lime and orange until you have ½ a litre of juice.
4. Mix the syrup with the lemon juice and cool again.
5. Place in your ice cream maker with the zest and follow the instructions of your machine.
6. If you don’t have an ice cream maker pour into a large sealable tub with the zest and mix well. Then place in the freezer for 2 hours before removing to stir occasionally then refreeze.
This is not a smooth ice-cream rather more of a water ice, sorbet sort of texture that is very refreshing. It is great on its own, with a sprig of mint or blueberry as in the pictures, or if you are feeling very indulgent dark chocolate brownies.
Watch out for more tastes of Sicily over the next few days.