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