If there’s one word to describe Sicily’s Aeolian Islands: authentic. The collection of seven islands off the coast of Sicily are thriving and forward thinking, but deeply steeped in tradition that is a unique combination of Italian, Sicilian, and distinctly Aeolian. Whether it is the distant rumble from the active volcano on Stromboli, the breathtaking oceanic views, or the entrancing aromas from the seaside kitchens, we are hooked – and you will be too.
On our trip to Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, we have the opportunity to prepare dishes using traditional Sicilian ingredients, including an expectedly delicious twist on ice cream – with salty, pungent capers.
Capers are one of Sicily’s main crops, and are meticulously picked by hand and then either pickled or salted to preserve them and give them their distinctive taste. Traditionally served in savory dishes, our capers ventured their way into some ice cream!
The ice cream was served in a “roof tile” made out of Sicilian chocolate. This chocolate is equally as special because the sugar is added into the chocolate after it has cooled, so it does not melt, giving the chocolate a grainy – and delightful – texture. More info can be found HERE on one of the oldest chocolate factories in Sicily.
This is just one of the things that I love about Sicily. You drive down a rural road and your heart stops. It’s not only that traditions are carrying on with the young, and you can have a conversation, it’s that the sound of the bells is symphonic and the whole scene is bucolic and relaxing.
We had just been to Filipo’s farm with @fabrizialanza to witness the making of pecorino from start to finish and taste super soft creamy ricotta, still warm. The fields are full of wild flowers, the air is still cool and the sky blue. What more? #swoon @gowithpeggy #sicily #freshricotta #rurallife #pecorino
From Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BFszJpin_8I/
The Aeolians have a culture of their own, an archipelago of 8 islands clustered in the Mediterranean just north of Sicily. Fascinated by islands, I like to explore how each island expresses itself, out in the wild on its own, with a rich sea life to draw from and the ingredients at hand that have given us the Mediterranean diet — wild plants such as fennel, oregano, rosemary and the cultivated citrus, olive and hot weather vegetables. Their gardens are often protected by rock walls to protect from the wind and insure a good harvest to put up for the winter.
There are two volcanos, Stromboli being one of them, and there is nothing like sitting on your boat at night, right at the foot of the volcano, watching it spew fire into the dark of night. These are off the beaten path destinations that hold innocence as well as wisdom and a history worth touching into. Different than other island clusters, one practically has the sea to oneself, adding that sense of ancient adventure. [Read more…]