Mangiamo Tutti!

Let’s eat! My first post in 2018 is actually not a recipe of my own. I just got back from Italy and I just have to share the incredible food I ate while I was there. Of course, everyone knows Italy is THE designated food-destination but since I was in Sicily, I was able to try some dishes that aren’t the typical pizza and pasta meals that we all think of when we imagine Italian food (although I did have plenty of pizza and pasta don’t get me wrong ;D)

As an island, Sicily is well-known for its seafood. We tried to eat as many different kinds of fish on the trip as possible and even tried to create the traditional “Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas (I think we only got up to 4 kinds that night though). Sicily is also well-known for cultivating pistachios and we saw pistachio-flavored everything from pistachio desserts, liquor, seasonings, cannolis, gelato, pesto- you name it! Some other popular foods in Sicily are arancini (fried rice balls with different fillings) and cannolis (don’t even bother getting cannolis in Northern Italy- Southern Italy is where they are the best!)

I thought it would be fun to share some of the meals I had to show what typical Sicilian cooking is like. Below I’ve categorized the various meals my family and I ate by the different meals of the day. Hope you enjoy checking this out (almost) as much as we enjoyed eating the food in these pictures! Mangiamo!


Italians don’t drink black drip coffee like we do in the US. In fact, they don’t even offer to- go cups because they want you to enjoy your coffee experience without rushing. We drank a lot of espresso shots and cappuccinos- both popular caffeine options in Italy. Cappuccinos are typically drank before 11am (although you can get it any time of the day) and espresso shots are taken throughout the day. At times, it was hard to adjust to the coffee culture (because sometimes we just wanted a black coffee to go!) However, I liked sitting down to really enjoy my coffee rather than drinking a coffee on the go while multi-tasking 5 things at once.


Breakfast typically consists of a cappuccino and a cornetto (croissant). During the trip, we tried a few types of cornettos. The two pictured above are honey (left) and Nutella (right). We were also able to try one with pistachio creme and vanilla creme. They were very sweet and definitely gave us a sugar rush or two!

Main Dishes:

In Italy, the main meal of the day is usually lunch. Depending on our schedule for the day, we would either have a big lunch, like Italians, or a bigger dinner if we didn’t sit down for lunch. I’m going to put all the main dishes from our lunches and dinners here because they consisted of the same kinds of dishes (pasta, pizza, fish, meat)

Starting from the top left, the first dish pictured is a black pasta with mussels (this was my Dad’s dish, not mine). Black pasta is made with the ink from cuttlefish and is very popular in Italy. I’m not a fan of mussels so I didn’t try this dish but my dad and sister loved it! The dish next to it on the right was my first meal after getting off the plane the first night, a pasta dish with tomatoes and sausage. Moving to the next photo, this was a pesto gnocchi dish I had in Catania. I was confused why the pesto didn’t make the sauce green but I could definitely taste the pesto while eating it. The last photo on the first row is my salmon dinner from Christmas Eve. Nearly everything was closed for the holiday but luckily we were able to find a hotel restaurant that was still open! The salmon was a nice change from the constant pasta dishes I had been eating.

On to the second row, the first photo is a pizza we cooked on Christmas for lunch. We topped it with mushrooms and pancetta and cooked it in our villa. The following dish is pasta with carbonara sauce that my sister made for Christmas dinner. My sister studied abroad in Rome for 4 months last year and learned to make carbonara while she was there. Ever since, it’s become one of her favorite meals to cook and it was a perfect first course on Christmas! The last photo on the second row is a pasta dish I had with swordfish, eggplant and tomatoes- delicious!

Moving down to the final row, the first photo shows my favorite meal of the whole trip. It’s an appetizer with several kinds of fish- calamari, shrimp and octopus. Everything was so tender and cooked perfectly- I wish I could eat it again! The last photo is a complementary salmon cannoli that we each got before one of our meals in Taormina. I definitely think it wins for best dish presentation for sure 🙂


As I mentioned earlier, Sicily is one of the best regions to have cannolis. The photo in the middle is a vanilla cannoli I had in Taormina. It had nuts on each end as well that gave a nice crunch. They’re not pictured here but we also had pistachio cannolis with crushed pistachio nuts sprinkled on each side after a cooking class we took in Catania.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Italy without gelato! The photo on the left is a nocciola (hazelnut) gelato (my favorite flavor!). I did some research to find the best gelato places in Catania. Every blog I read kept mentioning a place called Savia and their nocciola gelato in particular (lucky for me since that’s my favorite flavor anyway). I decided to check out Savia and WOW it did not disappoint! This was probably the best nocciola gelato I’ve had throughout my three trips to Italy. Bravo!

On Christmas Eve, we went to dinner at a hotel restaurant. The picture on the right shows a complementary dessert they made us. They were little tarts filled with pistachio creme (see I told you pistachio was popular). They were so delicious and such a nice surprise at the end of our meal!


Yes, wine gets it’s own special shoutout! Italian wine is some of the best wine in the world so I definitely took advantage. Mount Etna, Sicily’s active volcano, was very close to where we were staying in Aci Castello. Believe it or not, Mount Etna has become a hot spot for wineries because the soil has developed some unique qualities from all the volcanic eruptions. The wine bottle in the left-most photo is the wine we drank on Christmas- straight from the vineyard of Mount Etna! It was awesome to drink wine that was made on the side of a volcano- when did I ever think I’d say that sentence?!

Well there you have it, a quick recap of some of the most delicious and memorable meals I had in Sicily. (Of course, this did not include every meal or else the post would go on for hours!) One meal I did not mention was the cooking class we did in Catania. We learned how to make tortellini from scratch from an adorable Italian grandmother. She then served us a four course meal (which included our homemade tortellinis). She made the absolute best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had and I wish I had a photo but I ate it too fast! It was an incredible experience to learn to cook in a Sicilian home with an Italian family- definitely an event I would recommend to anyone looking to experience Sicilian culture first hand!

Going to Sicily for Christmas was such a delight because Italians really put a lot of love into their meals- especially during the holidays. It was so fantastic to experience their cooking first hand during this special time of year. I had some of the best meals of my life here and I can’t wait to go back to Italy again!

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