Monday, July 22, 2013

Sicilian Fancy Food

At the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City earlier this month, the vibrant flavors of Sicily were on display.  From the organic and fresh wines of the Judeka estate near the baroque city of Caltagirone in Sicily’s historic Val di Noto to the dried caper berries in sea salt and the raisined (uva passa) Zibibbo grapes harvested from the volcanic island of Pantelleria by the small producer called La Nicchia Pantelleria, these Sicilian agricultural products revealed the quality and diversity of the island’s materia prima (raw material).  The six single variety (mono-cultivar) olive oils from the Hyblaean Mountains (known in ancient Rome for the finest quality honey) produced by the Frantoi Cutrera estate near the town of Chiaramonte Gulfi expressed the delicacy, spice, and purity of Sicilian olive oil.  The Fiasconaro Oro Verde pistachio cream captured the essence of the prized pistachios from Bronte on Mount Etna’s western slopes.  The stone-ground organic whole grain durum wheat flour, Tumminia, milled by Molini Del Ponte made a dense and savory loaf of pane nero (black bread) of Castelvetrano, the town in western Sicily celebrated throughout its long history for both its bread and wine.  By design or chance, the Sicilian producers were located at the Fancy Food Show one floor below all of the other Italian producers in the Crystal Palace of the Jacob Javits Convention Center (as if still separated by the narrow Strait of Messina).  Meeting the Sicilian exhibitors and tasting their products evoked flavor memories of our cherished time on the Sicilian wine and food road.  If you cannot make it to Sicily anytime soon, experiencing the tastes of Sicily’s wine and food will bring Sicily home to you.

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