Sicily - Food and Wines - Food
You must also be careful with your words when talking about Sicilian cuisine. Arancini (little oranges) in Sicily are fried balls made with rice, meat, and grated cheese; quaglie (quails) are eggplants opened and fried in oil, and falsemagre (false thins) are not young women but meatballs made with salame, hard-boiled eggs, parsley and other things. And breasts of virgin are not at all what you might think.
The cooking of the eastern part of Sicily is different from that of the west. From Caltanisetta to Trapani the influence is Saracen, with its strong contrasts and flavours fighting each other.
Whereas on the eastern side, from Messina to Siracusa, from Catania to Agrigento, the cuisine is sober, with less fantasy, avoiding the sweet and sour and less generous with sugar in the sauces. This is because the Arab influence was stronger in the western part of the island.
It's not surprising that one of Trapani's specialties is "cuscusu" or small balls of semolino cooked over boiling water so that the cuscusu is cooked in steam, then added to a broth made from fish soup and then served with the same fish that contributed to the soup. If lobster is added the dish is perfect.
Sicily exceeds all the other regions of Italy for its abundance of sweets, fruits, and ice creams. It's a paradise for children and those with a sweet tooth. There are pastry shops with more than thirty varieties of pastries and ice-cream makers who could conquer the equator.
All of the recipes for Sicilian sweets come from the monasteries where sons and daughters of the great families lived in cloisters and expressed their dreams in sugar and flour.
Candied fruits and sweets made with almond paste emerged from these sacred places, and until the turn of the century the entire production went to the clergy and Sicily's aristocrats.
Some recipes remain a mystery, the nuns of Santo Spirito refuse to reveal their secrets for making the sweet dessert they sell from a revolving door at their convent in Agrigento.
Fortunately these traditional sweets live on during the religious festivals, for example at Easter when desserts made from almond paste in the form of sheep are sold, as well as the lamb of god rendered in color, and a special sweet for each patron saint.