Friday, 29 August 2014

A Series of Sicilian Sub-Stories

This was the kind of trip where so much happened that we left not quite believing that only a week had passed. It was unintentionally packed with unplanned adventures and precious moments.  The kind of moments where you close your eyes and you beg your mind not to forget that this happened.





There was something almost mystical about our holiday- it was as if luck walked into our little bubble whenever we needed it.  Five minutes into getting into Palermo, a taxi driver offered to take us right to our doorstep for the same price as the bus. 


We were welcomed by an overly enthusiastic air b and b host and a panormamic view of the city.  She was a passionate baker, so when Elizabeth told her I was a pastry chef in France, she not only asked me every single question she's ever had a-propos cake-baking, but also decided to scream "I love you" as loudly as possible in her super cute fully equipped kitchen.  She made us cakes for breakfast every morning before we sat out in the hot Palermian sun, reading and drawing pictures of the city churches. Because that's what felt right to do.

Fresh Sicilian Lemon Cake made by our host

Ricotta and chocolate crostata



my rooftop sketches!


And we went for market walks.

Grilled Peppers




Swordfish for sale

Arancini the size of our heads were eaten.


As well as ice cream brioche.  The sicilian kids love this snack, (although it may not have one of their five-a-day.) It is brioche bun with lots of gelato inside.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Clearly, the "eat clean" food fad hasn't hit southern Italy, yet.  


An evening in Palermo and a few glasses too many, we got talking to some fellow concert goers.  A girl called Manuela took a liking to us and gave us flowers for our hair before insisting we exchange numbers.   


Manuela asked if we wanted to join her in Castellemare del Golfo, a small town by the sea.  We arrived at Castellemare and sat in a gelateria cafe on a cliff, a place which not only had the most incredible sea view and gelato, but was served by the funnest of waiters who joked that he's been waiting for our arrival all summer.  Manuela arranged for us to have our own little apartment by the sea which we happily checked in to, before going for an evening jog to see the sun set.



And a boat trip happened.  A boat trip that was spent half asleep because the night before we were up night swimming.  A boat trip where the driver explained the whole history of Castellemare and it's close towns.  I was nominated as the translator however I don't think many people were really listening, but just absorbing the beautiful scenery.




A caldo- freddo had to be had.  I was intrigued by this name, "hot-cold." Which is a pan di spagna cake dipped in rum, gelato, whipped cream and hot chocolate sauce. 


We bonded with fellow Sicilian explorers Adam, Alex and Charlotte.  



We hopped on board with them for a road trip to Trapani via Erice, a stunning little town in the mountains which was made up of pastry shop after pastry shop as well as views of the Sicilian coast like no other.



Pastry chefs in the making of genovesi. Ricotta filled cakes






almond sweets in Erice




In Trapani we were welcomed with the same Italian warmth and a colourful apartment on the sea.  We promised that we'd get an early night but got taken away by the live music and danced the night away. 




Of course we had granita.  But I've decided to write a whole other blog post about that. 


Croissants filled with pistachio cream

Our last full day under the Sicilian sun was spent in Favignana, a little island a short boat trip away from Trapani.  We rented one and a half bikes and cycled to Cala Rossa. 


We both agreed that we'd never seen a sea as turquoise as it was in Favignana. 




 This guy made us a sandwich in Faviganana.  His speciality was tomato salad, tuna, olive oil, capers.



A. x