A friend asked me today, why Sicily? The first answer is because my paternal grandparents were born in Augusta, Sicily. They lived there for more 35 years. I was connected to Sicily well before I ever stepped foot on her beautiful soil. My maternal grandparents are from the region of Campania which meant I grew up with a mishmash of Sicilian and Neapolitan culinary traditions, stories and superstitions.
I first visited Sicily with Mom and Dad in 2004. We visited Palermo, Siracusa, Agrigento and Augusta. We ate and drank our way around the island. Dad is ready to eat with me at any time of the day. We hit the food markets in Palermo at 8:00 am. Our first stop was at a stand in the middle of the Vucciria market. There was one large battered silver pot filled with slowly boiling water and crates of polipo (octopus). We ordered two plates. The vendor squeezed lemon juice over the tentacles. It was simply delicious. Since then I’ve visited Sicily countless times with family, friends, and clients. It feels like home. Although the authenticity of the Vucciria market has declined, the Capo and Ballarò markets are a short walk away as are pastry shops serving cannoli, iris, and marzipan sweets as well as traditional and modern restaurants, pizzerias and wine bars.
Each visit leads to a new food discovery. It’s an endless adventure. Are you ready to discover Palermo, Italy? Start with these 10 delicious places as written for Olive Magazine.