Sicilian Breadcamp in The Financial Times newspaper

In October 2018, I organized a very special workshop with 7 female bakers from around the world. They joined us at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School for an experimental week using their own professional baking techniques with our local Sicilian flour. We visited a flour mill, a local cheesemaker, sipped Sicilian wines in the courtyard, and slathered fancy French butter on our homemade sourdough breads just after they came out of the school’s wood-burning oven.

I am very excited to invite bread lovers of all levels to join us for the second workshop that will run from September 30 through October 5th, 2019. Additional information and workshop pricing available online. Although this is not a sourdough workshop, students will learn all of the different breads from around the island and focus two full days on sourdough baking with the lovely and extremely talented Monika Wałęka. We’re waiting for you in Sicily!

photo by Monika Wałęka for  The Financial Times , December 28, 2018

photo by Monika Wałęka for The Financial Times, December 28, 2018

It isn’t difficult to understand the relationship between land and the taste of the land when you are on a farm with a cooking school in the uplands of interior Sicily.

Thunderheads hung in the sky, fields were striped with chocolate earthen clods after the wheat harvest. Fabrizia Lanza, who inherited the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school on the family’s estate from her mother, lamented that it had rained all September. Much of the grape harvest was delayed, the tomato crop that usually lasted until November was already over. We walked through her garden, among mulberry, persimmon and pomegranate trees, banks of rosemary, silvery sages, scented geraniums, “very good on chocolate cake”. Rotted pears crushed underfoot.

Lanza had gathered several artisanal bakers (and me, who has never baked a loaf in her life) for a week of “bread camp” to learn about Sicilian ancient grains. There is a trend in Sicily and all over the world, of rediscovering forgotten strains of wheat to recapture the flavour of bread lost to industrialised farming and supermarket demands for shelf life. There are more than 50 “ancient” Sicilian grains, developed over centuries to adapt to varied microclimates of the Italian island, and increasingly farmers are finding a market for them among pasta makers, pizza restaurants and bakers. Lanza said when she first tasted bread made from one, it was a revelation.

“I had no idea that flour had a flavour,” she said. “Regular flour was for me just white powdered talc.”

By chance rather than design, the bakers were an all-female group. Passionate about einkorn, spelt and emmer, they had Instagram accounts with tens of thousands of followers. Three had written books on sourdough. Monika Walecka mills her own flour, sells 100 per cent grain loaves in a farmers’ market in Warsaw and has a circular tattoo of wheat kernels around her elbow. Natasa Djuric was about to start work with the 50 Best Restaurants’ former top woman chef, Ana Ros, at her restaurant in Slovenia. After breakfast (home-made yoghurt, blood-orange jam, apple cake) they all set to work with the different flours: tumminia, a marginal wheat grown in the second sowing, “tasty, cinnamonny, but stubborn,” warned Lanza; perciasacchi, so called because its barbed grain pierced sacks; and Senatore Capelli, named after the senator who presided over agrarian reform in Italy in the early 20th century.

Laura Lazzaroni, who has written a book on ancient grains and advises bakeries in Milan, said her favourite was the reddish russello: “mellower, more hazelnutty”. Older varieties of wheat tend to be tricky to work with. There was a lot of debate about when to add salt, hydration levels and the relative extensibility of the dough, the gluten matrix, protein content, proofing time. Some doughs “ripped”, others collapsed into gloop; the good ones were pronounced “strong”.

“Of course it’s emotional,” said Walecka, adding a palmful more flour to correct a slack dough. “It’s alive, it’s like a bucking bronco, it’s different every time.” Stretch and fold, the bakers gently pushed and prodded with elegant fingertips, testing, feeling. Making bread is above all a tactile operation. Some of the flavour surely must be individual to the hands that make it.

Between lunches (pasta with tomatoes, aubergines and salted ricotta, a bitter greens frittata) and dinners (velvet fava bean soup with a poached egg, ricotta gnocchi, lentils from the island of Ustica) and visits to a local flour mill and a shepherd who makes ricotta, the conversations went back and forth between the grain and the bread. I grappled with the complexities. What is the difference between a hard wheat and a soft wheat? Durum wheat (triticum durum) — which is what most of the older Sicilian grains are — is hard between your teeth; the vitreous grain breaks into gritty shards. Softer wheat varieties (triticum aestivum) are more friable (breaks up easily) and crumbly when you bite into them. So, what is the difference, I asked, between flour that is stone milled and flour crushed between steel rollers? Between whole grain and semi-whole grain, bran and germ, varying protein contents, relative gluten levels and the confusing and arbitrary labels for flour in different countries: “strong bread flour” in Britain is known as “tenero di forza” in Italy and “65” in France?

I figured out enough to understand that modern wheats have been developed to grow in a chemical environment and are prepared with mechanised processing techniques. Almost all the bread we eat — from the apparently rustic baguette or ciabatta to a supermarket white slice in a plastic sleeve — is a 20th-century result of super-performing flours “improved” with additives and commercial yeasts that will pouf air into almost anything.

In addition, white flour has been sifted so that almost all of the nutritious part of the grain, the bran and germ, has been removed. There’s a reason that older grain varieties went out of fashion — they had low yields and were fickle to bake with; and there’s no doubt that industrialisation of the food supply has enabled us to feed billions more cheaply and hygienically. But nutrition and flavour have been sacrificed along the way. Did you know, for example — I did not — that freshly milled flour usually only has a shelf-life of a few months?

Ancient grains can be expensive — spelt and einkorn can cost more than five times as much as regular flour and stone milling is technically difficult. Sarah Owens, who was a ceramicist and a horticulturalist before she became a baker, lives in the Rockaways in New York. She admitted that she sells her loaves for $10 each, but she’s not getting rich off it.

“Is this a real economy of ancient grains or is it an artistic endeavour?” asked our host Lanza. Any artisanal food, handmade using quality ingredients will always be a niche product, but the demand for better-quality flour and bread is becoming more widespread. The trickle-down effect is clear in the ubiquity of sourdough loaves, and agronomists are developing new wheats to satisfy the demands of farmers, millers, bakers and consumers alike, with high-yielding strains that are easy to process, tasty to eat and easier to digest. But the question remains whether customers, used to sweetish pappy bread, will want to go back to the tang and chew of denser loaves made with ancient and whole grains.

Lanza told me that when people come to her farm and cook and eat what grows in the garden, it is a revelation. “It opens taste buds. An almond is not a piece of wood but a flavour. People put something in their mouth and say, ‘I had no idea’.” When I tasted their breads made with Sicilian ancient grains I marvelled at the varied nuttiness and toasty spice of the flavours, crumb as glossy as custard and crusts as crunchy and good as crackling. “Yum,” I echoed. “I had no idea.”
— Wendell Steavenson, THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Interview with CASAMIA Food & Wine tours from Rome

Our Italians: Linda Sarris of The Cheeky Chef

by Gina Tringali | Mar 10, 2017 | CasaMia

Welcome back to the “Our Italians” series of interviews that focuses on food artisans, experts and producers in Italy or abroad. These passionate individuals are committed to sharing the best in Italian food, wine and traditional products, through family-owned businesses and small scale enterprises, and we’re here to introduce them to you.

Today we make the acquaintance of Linda Sarris, The Cheeky Chef. I met Linda in NYC years ago over a glass of Italian wine. I’d been following her on Instagram. Having a deep love of Sicily like me, I couldn’t wait to meet Linda in person and compare “Sicily” notes. Without further ado, meet the lovely Cheeky Chef.

Casa Mia: Please tell us how you became a private chef? How did you choose the name “cheeky chef”?

Linda Sarris: The Cheeky Chef was originally a food blog that I started while traveling in college. I worked on a cruise ship with people from all over the world and they bestowed upon me the name Cheeky because of my light-hearted but brazen attitude. I worked in book publishing at Random House before my hobby of food blogging became too big for me. I changed careers at the age of 25 and graduated from The French Culinary Institute. After short stints with a few restaurants, I was drawn to private dining. When I was starting out, a company called KitchenSurfing would help place private chefs with people who wanted to have dinner parties. I launched my private cheffing business and gathered my first clients with the help of that website. Now I am working as a freelance private chef in New York City cooking for several female CEOs, my blogging has evolved into Instagram, and I travel often for food projects in Italy.

CM: Where does your love of Sicily come from?

LS: I landed in Sicily by chance with no knowledge of Italian language and really no interest in cooking Italian food. I was selected for a scholarship through the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs organization that magically placed me into the hands of my mentor Fabrizia at the cooking school started by her mother, Anna Tasca Lanza. With the time I spent working there and the countless trips over the last 6 years, I’ve realized and openly accepted that Sicily is my happy place. There’s that initial feeling we all get when we travel abroad that makes us think we want to buy a bicycle and ride through Paris wearing a beret and swinging around a baguette for the rest of our lives. Well babe, that’s not real life. My love for Sicily didn’t start when I first arrived, it’s something that’s taken time and just keeps growing and growing with every visit. It’s the little things and patterns you start to recognize that connect you with a place –– like the way I’m obsessive now about wiping off my shoes before going into anyone’s home.

I’m made of Mediterranean roots, so there is a comfort of being in a land where people look like me, they warmly want to hug and kiss you, accept you even if you’re not from there and appreciate your attempts on speaking their language. I’m in love with the way Italian culture (and specifically southern Italian) has a natural desire to feed and share things with you.

CM: Tell us about SNACKsicily. How was the idea born and how has it evolved?

LS: SNACK is a project I have been working on for about two years. I have been dreaming of putting together a guide for food and wine that is specifically focused on ingredients. It will be something with a longer shelf life than a travel guide to restaurants and hotels, because to be honest in Sicily, we never really know how long these places will last. I have taken a few extensive research trips to visit producers, meet winemakers, travel to nearly every area of the island, and gather the information I need to put this together. This year, I will be self-publishing a small printed mini-magazine under the name SNACK Sicily with the hopes to turn it into a book eventually and even branch out with the SNACK brand and write about other regions. You can follow all things SNACK related on Instagram via @snacksicily.

CM: What are your 3 favorite Sicilian dishes to cook?

LS: I like to cook with Sicilian ingredients and play with the way I mix and match their flavors together. There is always something crunchy like almonds, pistachio or toasted breadcrumbs and of course an abundance of fresh seafood or salty flavors like capers, olives, bottarga or anchovies. One of my favorite techniques I have learned from eating my way across Sicily is the idea of “agrodolce”. It’s not just a marriage of flavors but more of a forbidden love affair between sweet and sour. They just can’t stay away from each other. My top three dishes are pasta con le sarde, panelle, and I have become a serious snob when it comes to cannoli. A proper cannolo has perfectly-fried homemade shell and it must be filled with sweet ricotta cream just before you eat it so it doesn’t become soggy. Also, please stop saying “cannolis”, it’s not a word.

CM: Favorite food memory in Sicily?

LS: One of my favorite food memories was in Pantelleria, an island that belongs to Sicily but is actually closer to Tunisia. We took a small boat around the island to go snorkeling and swimming all day. I plucked sea urchin and patelle from the rocks below and brought them into our boat to quickly cut open and eat with our hands. With small scissors, I remember carefully opening up the spiny sea urchin and discovering the bright orange meat inside. Patelle are sort of like single-shelled oysters that have a beautiful mother-of-pearl inside. You have to dive down wearing a snorkel mask and with a small knife to shuck them off of the side of the rocks that they hold on so tightly to. Many of my best food memories involve something that happened outdoors and usually without plans or silverware.
 

CM: If I could only visit one location in Sicily where would you recommend?

LS: This is the toughest question and will for sure offend somebody. If Sicily was my family, how could I possibly pick my favorite child? I would recommend visiting Palermo on your first trip. It’s easy to get there and just a quick bus ride to the sandy beaches of Mondello. Palermo might not be for everyone but it’s the city where I feel you can get an overview of the food, the people, and the history of the island. You’ll find some of the best outdoor markets, so many types of streetfood, great nightlife, a growing art scene and a beautiful mix of Sicilian, Sri Lankan, and North African people. Palermo has unparalleled layers of Norman-Arab-Byzantine architecture all over the city and if you can embrace her gritty loud perfectly Sicilian exterior, you’ll come to love Palermo just like I do.

CM: Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?

LS: Think about visiting Sicily on your next trip to Italy. It’s not usually a traveler’s first thought, but it’s so much more interesting than taking 10 trips to Tuscany. There is more to Sicily than what you know from The Godfather. It’s truly a magical island with incredible food, breathtaking landscapes, unique wines, some of the most beautiful beaches, and the warmest people I’ve met.

You can follow Linda’s Sicily adventures at SNACKsicily or contact Linda at The Cheeky Chef.

In Sicily, New Hands Make Old Wine

Article from DIRTonline | Words & Photos KATIE JUNE BURTON

In Sicily, New Hands Make Old Wine

Nov 18, 2016

After an hour of winding roads and scenes of mountains, valleys, and grazing sheep, you start to forget about the wildly intoxicating city of Palermo behind you. Welcome to Sambuca di Sicilia, recently named 2016’s Most Beautiful Town in Italyin the country’s famed annual competition. In true Sicilian fashion, we're greeted by fifth generation winery owners, brothers Gunther and Klaus Di Giovanna. First on the menu: olive oil harvested and pressed that day, as well as a variety of their wines. The beauty greets you right away and the people who live there could not be more excited or proud to share it, the Di Giovannas included.

Nestled in the mountainside of the nature reserve of Monte Genuardo, the Di Giovanna estate spans across 250 acres of vineyards, olive trees, forests, and wheat fields. The vineyards combination soils—volcanic tuff, calcareous limestone, and clay—are home to myriad local and international grapes; Chardonnay, Grillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Syrah, Cabernet, Sauvignon, and Merlot. Bolstering the wine program is an organic olive oil operation, finessed by hand from prune to bottle. Here, Gunther’s wife Melissa explains what it really takes to run a vineyard, and the ever subtle alchemy required to balance tradition and innovation.

What is your winemaking philosophy?

The best way to describe our philosophy is purity, cleanliness, and authenticity. We grow traditional Sicilian grape varietals and produce them organically, but with a modern approach. We’re not just selling a beverage; we’re capturing a year in a bottle.

All grapes come from your property, how does this contribute to the quality of the final product?

When you have total control of the product that you grow, you have total control of the wine you produce. Other wine producers and co-ops that buy grapes by the kilo are measuring quantity, but not necessarily quality. We really focus on vineyard management and harvesting the best, healthiest grapes. Producing organically made wine demands that grapes come into the cellar healthy, as there is nothing we can do to manipulate unhealthy grapes to make good wine. That means making sure the vines are clean, the ground is clean, and the humidity is low (humidity is what breeds fungus and disease). It’s also important to manage the vines so they don’t overproduce grapes and minimalize the flavor of the variety.

“It’s been our mission for generations to take these traditional grapes and share them with the world.”
— Melissa Di Giovanna

What is it about Sicilian geography and climate that makes it the excellent wine country that it is?

Historically, Sicily has been excellent viticulture territory; the Phoenicians and the Greeks produced wine, olive oil, and wheat here and exported it to the whole Roman Empire. The climate is ideal—we’re surrounded by water, so we get the influence of the ocean and the salty air, and having four perfect seasons—not too cold in the winter, and hot dry summers—plays a huge part in growing and maturing grapes, as well as the volcanic properties in the soil. Sicily is basically one huge volcano (there’s active Mount Etna in the east and then several volcanoes underwater surrounding the island), resulting in mineral-rich, tuffaceous soil.

Being located in the mountains in high altitude is definitely one of the defining characteristics of our wine, as it gives us a warm climate, but extra crisp air. This results in a unique freshness and minerality that is less typical when you get closer to sea-level, where grapes can lean towards jammy flavors, really ripe and mature, which you don’t really get in ours. Our grapes develop more citrus, floral notes that are a bit more aromatic—and that comes from the altitude.

How do you stay connected to the old tradition of Sicilian wine production while still innovating?

We’re working with indigenous varietals as a way of preserving the history and culture of Sicilian wine. We focus on the Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese, and Grillo grapes because they are specific to Sicily and extremely important to our winemaking identity. It’s been our mission for generations to take these traditional grapes and share them with the world. Also, by practicing organics with our growing and winemaking, we’re preserving the soil and land.

Has there been a time when you took a risk on making a wine?

In 2004 we decided to make a dry, high quality rosé and almost all of the Sicilian producers laughed at us. There was this idea that no decent Sicilian wine producer makes rosé, as it wasn’t considered a serious wine. Ten years later, we’re all making and drinking it, and we’re on our 12th vintage of Gerbino Rosato de Mascelese and Nero d'Avola.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in winemaking during this generation?

Everybody is making great wine now, so it's pretty competitive. It’s becoming easier for people to gain access to the knowledge, education, and materials they need to produce a quality product.

What are the biggest challenges in running a winery?

The commercialization of the product is the biggest challenge. The wine market is so saturated and it’s hard to find the right people and get them interested in what you're doing. The work behind running our vineyard has been systemized for a long time—we have a great team, we have our brand established, but getting the wine to the people is the demanding part. The only way to make the right impression and tell the story is to pack your suitcase and go door-to-door.

What are the advantages and challenges of running a family business?

Family business means everything is personal; it’s a bit more complex and can sometimes take away the professionalism. Then there’s the pride that comes along with producing wine and having your name on every bottle. Gunther and Claus get to continue doing the work and planting the vines like their great grandfather did, and they really hope that preserving a business and craft will be important to their kids, too.

snacking in Castelvetrano

In our first edition of SNACK SICILY's city guides, we give you a mini checklist to shop, snack, taste, stay, eat, and tour while visiting Castelvetrano. It's our little mix of culture, local ingredients + typical dishes. 

Located in the province of Trapani, about halfway between Marsala and Sciacca, this little town is just a 20-minute drive from the coast. Known for their famous pane nero and the ancient Greek ruins of Selinunte, Castelvetrano is a nice place to spend a day or two while traveling around the west side of Sicily.  

SHOP: ancient sicilian flour + dry pastas from Filippo Drago at Molini del Ponte

  • Mention something about Sicilian flour and the name you'll hear immediately is Filippo Drago. For three generations, his family has been milling wheat in Castelvetrano. Filippo has passionately devoted himself to preserving and promoting the use of natural stone milling of ancient Sicilian varieties of wheat. These ancient grains are naturally high in vitamins and low in gluten which can be tolerated by people suffering from side effects of other flours. Filippo works closely with and supports farmers who can continue to grow these ancient grains like Tumminia, Russello, Bidi, Biancolilla, Perciasacchi, and Mallorca. Inside his mill, located in the center of town, you can buy flour used to make couscous or pane nero, chickpea flour for panelle, and beautiful dried pastas like Le Busiate a typical corkscrew shape from the province of Trapani. Do not miss this small but mighty shop.

SNACK: pane nero di Castelvetrano

  • Pane Nero di Castelvetrano is a "black bread" made with stone-ground ancient Sicilian grains. Famous around the island, this bread is made specifically in Castelvetrano with a mix of the darker-colored tumminia flour (at least 20%) and a hard Sicilian durum wheat, plus a little salt, Nocellara del Belice extra virgin olive oil, water, and a natural yeast (lu criscenti). They are formed into round loaves called vastedda in Sicilian dialect, topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then baked in wood-fired ovens stoked with dried olive branches. Slow Food has brought together producers in a consortium to protect this bread with a Presidium and give the wheat farmers, stone millers, and bakers a chance to preserve the tradition. Filippo recommends the best bread in town (now that his bakery closed it's doors) is a panificio called Termini. 

TASTE: extra virgin olive oil at Case di Latomie, Azienda Agricola Antonino Centonze

  • Nino Centonze's family farm is 1 of only 6 properties with the Slow Food Presidium for Italian Extra-virgin Olive Oil in Sicily. The local olive variety is the Nocellara del Belice - known internationally as gorgeous round Castelvetrano table olives with vibrant green color and a mild buttery flavor. These trees grow in the Valle del Belice in southwest Sicily where they have actually been given 2 DOP protections in Europe, one for the oil and the other for the olives. On Nino's beautiful property, with long sage-colored groves as far as you can see, the real highlight is the centuries-old trees that grow right out of the limestone quarries originally dug out by the Greek colony of Selinunte. 

STAY: a Sicilian farm holiday at Agriturismo Carbona

  • Just outside of town, this peaceful agriturismo has quaint rustic rooms that are just what you need when taking a few days to visit Castelvetrano. Read "Quaint" and "Rustic"... are you picking up what I'm throwing down? Agriturismo Carbona produces their own olives (I recommend you pick up a vacuum-sealed kilo or two), marmellata, and olive oil. They have a small restaurant and a beautiful olive grove and orchard to stroll through. 

EAT: lunch at Trattoria da Giovanni

  • In the middle of town, hit up Trattoria da Giovanni for a delicious lunch. There is no menu, just what they are making for the day. Giovanni or his son will greet you in a very casual dining room and explain what the kitchen is offering. We had caponata, olives, a vegetable soup with ditalini, homemade sausage in tomato sauce and a fried ricotta-filled cassatelle for dessert. The prices are affordable, the food is homemade and very good with carafes of local wine and a few bottles of amaro or limoncello coming around after the meal. You'll love the food, and definitely adorable Giovanni as well. Feels like you stepped into a friend's home. Check out their website for daily specials. (just kidding, Sicilian trattorias don't have fucking websites).

TOUR: explore the ruins of Selinunte Archaeological Park

  • Selinunte was one of the most powerful colonies in ancient Greece, situated on a cliff overlooking the sea in what's now southwestern Sicily. Founded in the 7th century BC, the progressive colony got it's name from a wild celery plant that grew around the nearby river with the same name. Rivaling nearby Segesta in riches and power, Selinunte was unfortunately demolished by The Carthaginians in 409 BC. In just over 1 week, 16,000 people were killed, the city was burned and completely flattened to the ground. The Selinunte Archeology Park is now one of the largest ancient Greek sites in all of Europe. The seven temples are left in their rubble exactly as they collapsed and only one temple has been reconstructed in the park. Not like the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento where the temples are standing and preserved. There is a little tram in Selinunte that takes you around from temple to temple but I recommend you walk it ... after all those fried cassatelle you had for lunch. 

SNACKsicily night at Adelina's wine bar in NYC

Chef Linda Sarris teams up with Adelina's wine bar for a Sicilian themed kitchen take-over in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Tuesday, January 26th.

Join us on January 26th for #adelinasnacks / RSVP here

We're serving a special à la carte sicilian menu for the night. Stop by for a glass of wine and some panelle or stay with us for dinner. 

Adelina’s is a wine bar and restaurant in Greenpoint, serving Italian wine on tap, craft beers and home-style cooking. Linda Sarris, a private chef based in Brooklyn, has spent the last 5 years learning about Sicilian cuisine with research trips, farm stays, cooking classes and adventures through fish markets, vineyards + salt-pans. Her new project SNACK is a chef's guide to the food/wine of Sicily. 

We've created a great menu for the night featuring traditional ingredients highlighting the diversity of flavors across this special little island. 

Adelina's
159 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
G train to Greenpoint Ave
Tuesday, January 26th
5-11PM
www.adelinasbk.com 
www.lindasarris.com

Palermo bound: SNACK takes off!

SNACK takes off!

Flying from Florence to Palermo to start the vol.1 research trip through the West side of the island. I am landing in Palermo then picking up my rental car for the month. Spending the weekend with my Sicilian besties in the city. Eating + Drinking + Causing Trouble. Amuni!

Palermo is my favorite city, long late nights out and early morning exploring the markets fueled with espressi, eyes half-open, sunnies on, soaking up last night's sangue with fried street food for breakfast. La vita e bella!

Palermo Sweet Palermo. Catch up with you on Sunday when I recover. 

babalucci for the Festa di Santa Rosalia in Palermo

Summertime means the people of Palermo skip off to the beaches of Mondello or the nearby wildlife reserve Capo Gallo. For those staying in the city, you’re lucky enough to get one of my favorite seasonal dishes, babalucci. On July 16, Palermo celebrates their patron saint and one of the typical dishes eaten for the festa di Santa Rosalia are these tiny little snails (lumache). They are cooked right in their shells with loads of garlic, olive oil, black pepper and parsley.

You can buy the live snails in the open air markets (look for them climbing up little poles in their baskets) or better yet, just find some guys on the street selling portions to eat as you go. They’ll usually give you a container and weigh them out and you just pick them up with your fingers and suck the little guys right outta their shells. I order them by the euro, 2 or 3 euros is usually enough for a small portion. Simple, seasonal, local + delicious.

The best best best ones are sold along Via Torremuzza in Piazza Kalsa. Luckily, this is just below the little loft apartamentino I used to stay in. I like to grab a few cold beers, a container of babalucci, a loaf of bread and head to Foro Italico to sit by the water and relax with my fav seasonal snack. #SNACKsicily

making #SNACKsicily a reality

"don't call it a dream, call it a plan."

SNACK Sicily is a passion project; something I have always dreamed of creating. When I first landed in Sicily for a kitchen stage, I was looking for apps to use for help navigating the island, some way to find cool things to do, food-related guides for what to eat in each region or where I could meet young people. Here we are, four years later, and I've decided to make something myself. Heading out on my own to self-publish a printed mini zine to tell stories of food/drink around the island, to share my love for this place, to promote something better than the Godfather, to honor the people who have opened their homes/kitchens/bars/farms to me. 

I'll spend the next month in the countryside of Tuscany scouting online and planning my September trip around Sicily. What vineyards I haven't seen yet, which pastry shops to visit, where to find the best place for streetfood in Catania, where to dive for sea urchin, and what fish market has my favorite gambero rosso di sicilia. I want to share it with you guys. I want to spread the word of this little island the size of New Hampshire. They've been doing great things with food and wine for years. Now that young people from all over the world are finally planning trips to visit Sicily, I want to give them a small (portable) book to learn about the good stuff you don't find in the old-school guidebooks. 

SNACK Sicily will be the first (fingers crossed) in a beautiful series of guides. SNACK will be a journal, a guide, a little glimpse into la cucina siciliana. 

Help me spread the word that SNACK is coming. I'll be traveling around Sicily through the month of September, during olive + wine harvest, visiting farmers, chefs, nonnas to get the scoop for you. Follow along on this blog, on twitter + instagram.

The website works as a little taste "un piccolo assaggio" of what's to come in the mini zine. 

Thank you so much for your support, your love, your motivation + your stories.

- linduccia