Sicily Trip Report
Hi All, this is a little delayed but I wanted to share a bit about my experience in Sicily. Will keep it short and sweet. We spent 3 nights in Taormina and 4 nights in Trapani.
On the east coast, although Taormina is super touristy, it's absolutely beautiful/picturesque and worth the visit. While in Taormina we visited Mt Etna, met up with a family friend who lives in one of the villages at the base (Macchia) - he cooked us a home cooked meal composed of a salad (Sicilian cucumbers, tomatoes, caper leaves that were marinating for days from his farm, onion) Next, we had rigatoni alla norma.. with baked ricotta, that one can only get from this particular area of Sicily, and then last, we had meatballs wrapped in lemon leaves and grilled (lemon leaves were picked from his lemon tree in the front of the house) Everything was fresh and local and grown in the soil of mt etna. Hands down one of the highlights of the trip.
Some highly recommended restaurants in Taormina are Al Melograno (pretty new) and L'arco Dei Cappuccini. L'arco dei cappuccini doesn't have a view like many of the other restaurants in Taormina but the food is excellent.. one of the best.
The food on the east coast and west coast are very different. Even little things like granita for instance.. Granita on the east coast is eaten in the morning only.. with a brioche, and maybe some panna. On the west coast, you see it in the bars, but it's not as popular as a breakfast staple. Pasta alla norma is more popular on the east coast than the west.. in western sicily you find couscous on almost every menu.. usually with pesce spada (swordfish). There's a TON of seafood ranging from swordfish, sea urchin, tuna, and sardines, in particular. In Trapani, the famous pasta is a corkscrew shaped pasta called BUSIATE. It's usually served in a Trapanese Pesto sauce.. delicious. You will also see a lot of caponata as an antipasti. On the west coast we stayed in Trapani as our base which was great for visiting Marsala, Favignana, San vito lo capo, Scopello, etc. Trapani is a great town.. very happening at night, live music in the streets, many of which are pedestrian only and filled with little shops, boutiques, excellent restaurants. Some of our favorites were:
La Bettolaccia, Caupone, Ai Lumi, and Trattoria San Pietro (the last being our favorite..no frills trattoria.. personal experience, simple, delicious Sicilian food)
Pictures can be viewed here:
Al Melograno just opened a few months ago in this location (i believe in April of 2012). It doesn't have a view like some of the places overlooking the water, but there's a nice garden... it was recommended by a local friend and I enjoyed it. The pasta with sea urchin was VERY good...linguine with prawns also delicious.. Very fresh fish..authentic sicilian food, not touristy compared to the restaurants on the main drag.