Sicily – Through Rose-Tinted Lenses

It’s official: I need a waterproof camera. When Monsieur and I were caught in a Sicilian deluge in the little town of Trapani, I couldn’t help myself; I kept on snapping. Even in the grey of the downpour, shooting Trapani’s buildings was worth getting a little wet. Or so I thought. Meanwhile, Monsieur’s camera stayed…

The Super Citrons of Sicily

It’s a bad day in the Epicurienne household if we run out of lemons. Monsieur and I use them for just about everything – squeezed over salads, in sauces for fish and seafood, in lemony vinaigrettes, on spaetzle, on roast potatoes… So imagine my delight on finding gigantic lemons in Italy! The first time I…

The Costa Nostra

Yesterday everything got a bit serious on Epicurienne, with an Irate Reader making an Irate Comment about my views on Sicily, Sicilians and the influence of the Mafia là-bas.  To lighten the mood, here’s a Newsbiscuit story from the Wise Woman of Wandsworth. Made me snort all over my keyboard. Again. Now where are those…

Epic and the Irate Reader

This morning I received a comment from an American reader of Sicilian descent who finds what I write about Sicily to be racist. Crikey!To him, and to anyone else who might feel the same, I apologise as that was never my intention. (I’d also recommend not watching Bruno at the cinema.) However, I do reserve…

The Butchers of Corleone

The Mafia were constantly in my thoughts as we travelled around Sicily. This may have had something to do with the book I was reading at the time, John Follain’s The Last Godfathers, which was so cram-packed with gruesome murder and body disposal methodology that I was finding it hard to look at an oil barrel…

Marsala and Hutch

Leaving Trapani proved a little more troublesome than we’d anticipated, mostly because of the downpour that drenched us minutes after leaving the wonderful little Cantina Siciliana, where we’d refuelled in anticipation of an afternoon packed with activity. Just before the deluge began, Monsieur and I had been happily photographing Trapani’s buildings. We dashed between dripping…

Slow-ing Down in Trapani

For our first full day in Sicily, Monsieur and I took the advice of a friend and headed for the north-west coast of the island, to a town called Trapani. Dark clouds loomed but, ever the optimists, we drove on, along the autostrada where anti-mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone’s convoy was blown up by an under-road…

A Very Sicilian Supper

One night in Palermo, Monsieur and I decided not to take the restaurant recommendations of the hotel or our travel guides; instead we would sniff out somewhere good in the neighbourhood. Little did we know that this would be one of THE dining experiences of the entire Sicilian expedition and NOT because of the food….

The first supper at Zafferano

It was getting dark as Monsieur and I set off to explore something of Palermo on our first day in Sicily. We enjoyed the window-shopping along the Via R Settimo, later rejoining the broad Via Roma, where discount shops and mobile phone outlets were busy with post-Christmas sale business. My favourite window was for a…

Leave the car. Take the cannoli

Landing at Palermo airport is not for those who’ve failed a fear of flying course. The runway is bordered by the sea, and the final descent goes something like this: fly along a bit, drop a bit, along a bit, PLUMMET, bump, bump, reverse thrust and breeeeeeathe. It’s the PLUMMET part which feels truly life-threatening,…

Don Epicurienne

It’s always a relief to me when Christmas is over. Following all the over-eating, excitable families, pressure to spend, emotional blackmail to eat more, stay longer and be energetic, happy beings, in spite of any work-related year-end exhaustion, I find myself in desperate need of escape. Forget peace on earth and goodwill to men. Few…

Hot and Cold in Enna

When you think of Sicily, what comes to mind? For me, it’s a curious mixture of things: the dreaded ‘clan’, Mount Etna, cannoli and some seriously glowing mosaics, sweet Marsala wine drunk IN Marsala, ancient Greek temples and being so sick that I couldn’t speak. The first time I visited the island at the bottom…