I've just started a great new book as recommended by my bestie, "From Scratch" by Tembi Locke. It has brought back many memories of our trip to Sicily earlier this year. The beginning of the book is set in Florence, and it's pretty awesome to read about all of these places I have visited. But of course, it lists a few new places which I plan to check out next May when we are in Florence again. One of the main characters in the book is a chef born and raised in Sicily so that has definitely spurred memories of the wonderful food we sampled while in Sicily. But let's talk about Sicily.
I was very anxious to explore Sicily after realizing that Allison's great grandparents were from small towns in Sicily. We researched to find the specific towns where her great grandparents lived and we couldn't wait to experience the culture that her ancestors grew up in. I have always been obsessed with Genealogy and my burning question has always been WHY here, why did they settle in the towns they did.
My first impression was how different the landscape and food was from mainland Italy and how much things reminded us of home. I loved how friendly and approachable the Sicilians were to us. I admired their value of family and the hospitality they showed us through their love of food, much like most southerners.
You don't have to have ancestors from Sicily to really enjoy their culture and traditions; they will make you feel welcome no matter your heritage.
Three things that really stuck with me:
- Sicilian Heritage: The connections were evident as we drove through the countryside and saw names of cities and towns that were surnames of people we knew. While we were touring with a private guide in Agrigento, he mentioned that he had visited the United States, he felt most at home in New Orleans because the culture and temperatures were familiar AND THE FOOD!
- Rural Landscape: Sicily is wide open country, and every quaint town we visited was pretty far from the next. As we traveled along we passed wide open green spaces of livestock, farms, fishing villages, and beautiful coasts (photo below). As we traveled, our incredible local guides talked about the history of Sicily, their culture and traditions, as well as prepared us for the next stop. The value of these local guides cannot be understated.
- Proud Sicilians: I don't know that I would have appreciated as much of Sicily without the local introductions and hands-on experiences with the dairy farmer, winemakers, chocolatier, etc. They are such so proud of their heritage and traditions and welcomed us into their homes for the best home cooked meals I have experienced. They explained about zero-kilometer foods grown and prepared in their gardens and communities using only in-season vegetables. I know that I enjoyed foods I don't normally enjoy at home and I think it was because everything was so fresh. This also reminded me of our ancestors living off of the foods they grew on their farms.
Exploring the Sicilian connections, experiencing the rural landscape and interacting with proud Sicilians are only a few of the things that attracted us to Sicily.
If you think Sicily sounds like a place you would like to visit, please reach out, I would love the explore the possibilities with you. Click here to get in touch with us.