What sets Sicilian food apart?
When you think of Italian food, a lot of the time, pasta and pizza come to mind. Many of us assume that there is not much difference between these dishes and Sicilian food, however there some key distinctions.
Tradition is key in both Italian and Sicilian dishes. Though the two are quite similar, Sicilian food has influences from across the Mediterranean, North Africa and Arabia. Many of the cooking methods and the combinations of ingredients have been used throughout Sicily’s history and still remain an important part of the region’s culture today. Olives that were first introduced by the Greeks and various spices and fruits from Arabia, such as saffron and oranges, are still frequently used in Sicilian dishes.
Cheese is produced regularly in Sicily, and like with many ingredients, has an interesting history and tradition. Pecorino, for example, is made from sheep’s milk and gets its name from the Italian word for ‘sheep’. Though the sheep population of Sicily is diminishing somewhat, the cheese is still made throughout the region and is a favourite for grating over pasta. Another cheese, Provola, is a good example of the tradition and care that is prevalent in Sicilian dishes. Using an old traditional method, provola is usually made from whole cow’s milk and is suspended from string or a ribbon to age, eventually forming a pear shape with a smoked version used in ham dishes.
Because of Sicily’s mild climate, fruit and vegetables are used in many dishes, with eggplant being a particular favourite. Numerous dishes contain or are based around this eggplant and this, alongside other locally-grown produce, is used in some of Sicily’s most famous dishes. Using local ingredients is a major factor in what makes Sicilian cuisine so vibrant. Markets are frequently held throughout Sicily with the most delicious of local produce available, including seafood and vegetables.
Though Italian and Sicilian dishes are quite similar, the emphasis on local produce and ensuring that the region’s tradition still remains even in today’s modern era makes Sicily’s cuisine stand out. Here at Cheikhos, all of our dishes are used using the best quality ingredients and retain the flair and vibrancy of Sicilian food.
We are passionate about bringing Sicilian cuisine to your table, so get in touch with us for your own Sicilian experience.