Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Palermo: It's Not all About The Godfather

Out of the hotel at 9:30 we were joined by our guide Enrica, born and bred in Palermo, and proud of this amazing city.  We headed first to Trattoria Focacceria Del Massimo to taste some local street food.  This is cucina povera, the food of the poor, served with pride.  

Making Panella, a chick pea fritter
This explains the method; a chick pea polenta-like mixture is slapped onto the tiles and then fried in soybean oil
Potato croquettes with mint; since I've never met a potato I didn't like, these were a winner

arancine: fried rice balls stuffed with ham and cheese 

Stuffed with beef, peas, and carrots
Chick pea fritters

Get a load of that porchetta on the slicer!
There was food everywhere here, and it was all fresh, and ready for lunchtime patrons.  Trattoria Focacceria Del Massimo has been in this location for 4 generations over 90 years.  





Next up we were off to the 'Capo' market, the original Arabic market in the city.  Short history of The Island of Sicily:  founded by the Phoenicians, then conquered by the Arabs, and then taken over by the Spanish, before being reunited with Italy.  The Arabian influence is dominant here, in the foods, and the architecture.  I'll let the market speak for itself; imagine the smells and the sounds of the different vendors as you stroll through the market, dodging scooters, and motorbikes.
those are enormous zucchini

Wild fennel


Tiny Strawberries 



Baby octopus

Baby calamari



Tiny octopus

Fish mongers

Torpedo onions


Romanesco as big as your head

More onions

Baby artichokes

Dr. C. says the tomatoes here are the best he's had


Lumache; baby snails

salted capers

Heading out of the market, we climbed a hill and found some old painted carts that are now on display.  It was described as an outdoor museum.

Walking out of the alleyway, we came upon the cathedral.  What a sight.
Here you can see the Arabic and Norman influences

Coming around to the front of the cathedral you can see the beautiful park in front with flowers, palm trees and tree bougainvillea

As we walked outside, we joined the several thousand cruise ship passengers who had been set ashore, and we walked towards the Ballaro market where I got the impression that this was the market for immigrants, with stalls selling everyday items, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Vestment shop

Graffiti is everywhere here, don't let is dissuade you from coming, this is an amazing city with a history and culture that is unique

Donut peaches


Sicilian lemons

Cheese shop

And of course, no market would be complete without hogs heads


These markets are beehives of activity; people shopping, vendors yelling to get your attention, the smells, and the sights are enticing.

Heading out of the market, we walked down wide streets to the final market of the day, located where the butchers used to do their work.  But first, another church, and an enormous fountain that was originally in Florence, and transported here.

In the town hall square

They call the rainbow flag here the flag of peace...finally something that makes sense

At the market, we were going to try a spleen sandwich from Rocky who is famous on You Tube, a friend of Joe Bastianich, he made our sandwiches for us.  A bit like rubber bands sauteed in lard, then spritzed with lemon and sprinkled with salt.  

And, after our sandwiches we needed something to drink, so we were taken to a bar, and we tried the local wines, Zibbibo, Sangue, or Marsala.  All tasted about like Marsala, I took a few sips, but would rather cook with it.

Our hosts

Hanging out with the locals

This market called Vuccheria, is small, and getting smaller

There are dogs everywhere

They will cook potatoes here for you, then you take them home; our guide swears they taste better when cooked at the market
Off to our last stop, for a typical Sicilian ice cream creation, gelato on a brioche---don't knock it till you have tried it!

They also serve cannoli

Oh!  I want one!

True Siciliani pick this up with their hands and eat it!  

Although delicious, I have to be honest, I couldn't finish mine, two flavors and all that brioche was amazing.

And so, 6 hours later, we are off to our hotel to have a rest before dinner.  I took a few shots along the way as we headed back.

Ciao for now!

No comments:

Post a Comment