My childhood friend has been married and living in Sicily for well over 30 years. Their son got married recently, and the Irish (and Malaysian, and Danish!) descended upon the island of Sicily to make sure he was sent off in style! I’m not sure what the Sicilian’s thought of us, but we loved them
Imagine – a whole week to eat as much pasta as you like No wonder we all had a ball..
We had great fun in the cafes of Taormina, persuading my best friend to try her first Cannolo :). We bought Arancini from a takeaway joint and ate them on shady seats under trees near the piazza.
We also discovered that Sicily appears to be the nut capital of the world – there were almonds and marzipan everywhere, and the local Bronte Pistachios (that’s the name of the town near where they’re mostly grown – nothing to do with Jane Eyre apparently) appeared in virtually everything – they even had a Baileys-like Pistachio drink, which some of the younger crowd took a real shine to. One of the main courses at the wedding was Ravioli in a Pistachio sauce – sublime!
Italian menus can often confuse us mere mortals with their antipasti, primo piatti, secondo piatti and so forth, but we weren’t worried about all that; especially when we went to Trays + Robby’s home in the hills outside Messina for a Sunday lunch which lasted, no exaggeration, about 6 hours. Such a relaxed style of eating encouraged us all to take our time, try things we’d never eaten before and have long conversations between courses. (My long conversations mostly consisted of me asking for recipes, and discussing ingredients – in my element!)
Lunch started with drinks, well of course it did!
Then the Antipasti arrived – the table was groaning under the weight of a Mediterranean vegetable pate (with olives, capers and chilli) which Mr Saturday Night took an immediate shine to, and a spicy dip, with a basket of crostini to spread them on – (they were rather like my homemade crostini – https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/crostinibruschetta/) – but with extra herbs and garlic).
Then came little rolls of French beans wrapped in smoked pancetta..
Then two warm vegetable dishes – Aubergine rolls, and Zucchini rolls (or as we call them, Courgettes) with a home-made tomato sauce. Various types of ham, cheeses and roasted vegetables were offered too..
Sicily is famous for beautiful ceramics, so all of these dishes arrived on vibrant serving plates.
The main courses consisted of one fairly familiar dish – Penne Amatriciana, then there were some griddled and bread crumbed Pork skewers, and my personal favourite, a vegetarian Zucchini lasagne, which is made – get this – with crepes instead of pasta!
This lasagne tastes amazing, and I’ve got the recipe! https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/la-lasagna-Siciliana/
After giving us a little while to digest all this bounty, the desserts arrived! I have to confess that I definitely did not do them justice – I was sooo full! Here’s my dessert plate:
Those are beautifully ripe cherries, a little locally-made nut-filled pastry, a Cannolo with sweetened Ricotta filling (my favourite), and Chocolate Semi-freddo – a sort of ice-cream – ‘semi-freddo’ literally means ‘half-frozen’ – so we had to eat that up quickly before it melted in the afternoon’s heat!
Here’s what I didn’t eat – and I’m so annoyed with myself, two weeks later, in Ireland! Trays calls it ‘Chocolate salami’
What a day, what a Wedding, what a Sunday lunch, and what a trip of a lifetime to Sicily!
Thanks to Trays and Robby, and lots of love and happiness to Robert and Pia And yes, that IS a Cannoli Wedding Cake!!