The Travel Bug ISSUE NO. 1
SIESTA SICILIANA SATISFYING YOUR HUNGER SICILY AT A GLANCE DISCOVER PALERMO’S HIDDEN TREASURES GLORIOUS SICILIAN ARCHIPELAGO RUPTURE IN THE SEA
IN THIS ISSUE Designed & written by Rosalba Ugliuzza
GOT A SWEET TOOTH?
Uncover why the capital city is the crossroads of civilization.
Learn about the easiest way to set foot on this archipelago.
Find out why tourists are so attracted with her rabid fury.
Devour your taste buds with savory and sweet dishes of Sicily.
Sicily at a glance
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Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and a region of Italy. It has nine provinces. Itâ€™s been known since ancient times for its triangular shape, which earned the name Trinacria. Palermo is the islandâ€™s capital and largest city. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna. It has a rich, unique culture and a mountainous landscape The main agricultural products include oranges, lemons, olives, olive oil, and wine.
nce the intellectual capital of southern Europe, Palermo has always been at the crossroads of civilization. It has attracted almost every culture touching the Mediterranean world. To Palermo’s credit, it has absorbed these diverse cultures into a unique personality that is at once Arab and Christian, Byzantine and Roman, Norman and Italian. The city’s heritage encompasses all of Sicily’s varied ages, but its distinctive aspect is its Arab-Norman identity, an improbable marriage that, mixed in with Byzantine and Jewish elements, created some resplendent works of art. These are most notable in the churches, from small jewels such as San Giovanni degli Eremiti to larger-scale works such as the cathedral. No less noteworthy than the architecture is Palermo’s chaotic vitality, on display at some of Italy’s most vibrant outdoor markets, public squares, street bazaars, and food vendors, and above all in its grand, discordant symphony of motorists, bikers, and p e d e s t r i a n s that triumphantly climaxes in the new town center each evening with Italy’s most spectacular passeggiata.
PALERMO CATHEDRAL (right) The Travel bug 3
Sicilyâ€™s mountain of fire is Med
Standing at almost 11,000 feet, Mount Etna dominates the Sicilian skyline, a vague threat situated near the islandâ€™s eastern coast. This is the most active volcano in the world.
The fertile volcanic soils support extensive agriculture, with vineyards and orchards spread across the lower slopes of the mountain and the broad Plain of Catania to the south.
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Dating back to 1500 B.C., the volcano has erupted 200 times, and the 21st century saw Mount Etna erupting again in 2001, with lava flows reaching near Nicolosi.
g Etna iterranean’s biggest attraction
agnetic Mount Etna offers much more than wine. The volcano is among the Mediterranean’s biggest attractions with winter and summer sports and loads of touring opportunities. You can ski on the upper slopes of the cone in winter months, and there is sledding and ice trekking as well. The runs don’t compare to the black diamond challenges in the north, but the experience of speeding down a snowy piste past black lava and a shimmering blue sea, in a near vertical drop, thousands of feet below is simply unforgettable. In warm months, there is hiking, camping, cycling and some of Europe’s best beaches can be found less than 20 miles at the base of the volcano. The Riviera dei Ciclopi is dotted with cove beaches and tiny harbors with colorfully painted fishing boats. The collection of lava rock formations you see off the coast
are said to be the same boulders that the Cyclops hurled at Odysseus after the Greek hero blinded the monster. Taormina, the queen of Sicilian summertime destinations, is only a short drive away and it offers luxury accommodation. The lovely Circumetnea (route SS 284) loops around the volcano and can be completed easily in under a day in a rented car. Start your Etna adventure at the Fiumefreddo exit off the E45 toll-road and head along SS 120 to Linguaglossa. Here, you can take the via Mareneve up a steeply ascending stretch of twists and turns in the road to the summit of the volcano. The drive, through the Etna Regional Park, leads you to the Etna Nord skiing area where there are five lifts and half a dozen runs (open December to April). In the summer months, you can walk up a steep trail to the volcano’s main crater.
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COMING SOON! TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU!
Grazia’s ITALIAN BISTRO
Authentic Sicilian Cuisine
Explore THE AEOLIAN
ften called the Lipari Islands, the Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago visible from Sicilyâ€™s eastern Tyrrhenian coast, easily accessible by ferry or hydrofoil from Milazzo and Messina. According to Wikipedia, the islands attract about 200,000 annually.
The principal islands are Lipari, Salina, Filicudi, Alicudi, Stromboli, Panarea and Vulcano. Lipari is the main island of the bunch. These beautiful islands are quite rugged, with deep caverns, steep cliffs, and splendid views. Here youâ€™ll find beautiful scenery, volcanoes, castles, thermal resorts, water sports, good fishing and, of course, some great beaches. Do expect crowds in summer months, and seasonal schedules for hotels and restaurants, which may be closed in the winter.
AEOLIAN ISLANDS The Travel bug - 7
Meatballs with Ricotta 1 lb 12 oz. minced lamb 10 ½ oz. fresh ricotta cheese 2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese 3 ½ oz. unsalted butter 2 ½ oz. virgin olive oil 1 large Spanish onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, chopped ½ bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped 2 oz. fresh breadcrumbs 2 organic eggs Place the minced lamb and cheeses into a large mixing bowl. Heat
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¾ oz. of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat until it softens. Add the garlic, spices and herbs and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Add the breadcrumbs and eggs to the lamb and cheese then tip in the spicy onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together well. At this stage, you cover the mince mixture and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours, or even overnight, until needed. Roll spoonfuls of the mince into small balls between the palms of your hands. Fry the meatballs in batches using the remaining butter and oil, turning onto all sides until they are golden brown. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm in the oven. Meatballs can be served hot, warm, and cold.
Amaretti Chocolate Cake 12 oz. Amaretti biscuits 6 oz. chocolate with 75% cocoa solids 15 fl oz. double cream 4 tablespoons brandy 3 tablespoons cider Lightly grease a 2-pint pudding basin with groundnut or other flavorless oil. Break up the dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Pour in the double cream and fit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water making sure the base of the bowl doesnâ€™t touch the water, leave until the chocolate has melted. Then take off the heat. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the chocolate and cream together until you have a cold, creamy mixture. Set aside.
Mix the brandy and cider together and pour into a shallow dish. Dip the Amaretti biscuits, one at a time, first into the liquor, then into the chocolate cream mixture, and arrange a layer of biscuits in the base of the pudding basin. Spread a chocolate cream mixture over the first layer of biscuits. Repeat the whole process until you have 4 layers. Place a saucer (one that fits inside the rim of the basin) on top of the mixture, put a 2 or 3 lb weight on top and leave in the fridge overnight. Before serving, dip the basin in hot water for about 3 seconds and turn the pudding out on a flat serving plate. Put the cake back in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the outside to get firm again. Just before serving, dust the cake with cocoa powder.
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