Sicilian cuisine is part of a complex and articulated regional gastronomic culture, which shows traces and contributions of all the cultures that have settled in Sicily in the last two millennia. The list of typical products is very long. Each province, and in many cases, each municipality, has its own specialty and even the names of the same foods vary from area to area. Sicilian granita, almond milk (sweet-bitter), hot table or rotisserie, with rice balls, panelle and crocché are universally known. Even fish, in many varieties, is an important food of Sicilian cuisine. Among the typical sweets of the region, cannoli, classic cassata, almond sweets and raviole are not to be forgotten.
Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is a municipality in the province of Trapani, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, at the mouth of the Màzaro river and less than 200 km away from the Tunisian coasts of North Africa. The old "historic center", once enclosed within the Norman walls, includes numerous monumental churches, some dating back to the 11th century, and a neighborhood with an Islamic urban layout typical of the "medina", called Casbah, of which the narrow streets are one sort of trademark.
The economic activities that distinguish it mainly are fishing, agriculture and the shipbuilding and food industry, in particular that of fish. Mazara del Vallo is one of the most important and well-known Italian fishing ports, the base for a fleet of about 350 large offshore fishing boats (with about 4,000 fishermen on board), which return every 20 days. Mazara resides, often with families, about 3,000 immigrants, mostly from the Maghreb, employed for over 25 years in the fishing, agricultural and craft activities of the city. They mainly reside in the historic city center of Arab origin. Mazara also rose to the headlines in March 1998, when a local fishing boat, commanded by captain Francesco Adragna, recovered, at about 480 meters deep in the waters of the Canale di Sicilia, a bronze sculpture of over 2 meters, dating back to the period Hellenistic, known by the name of Dancing Satyr. The statue, after being restored and having been on display for a short time in Rome, at Montecitorio, is now exhibited in Mazara in the museum of the same name in Piazza Plebiscito.
In the past a considerable economic resource for Sicilian farmers was the cultivation of the almond tree. The soft fruits, the so-called minnulicchi with a slightly acidic taste, were enjoyed in late spring; when the weather conditions were favorable, some branches, laden with fruit, intertwined with favaian shoots, served, on the occasion of the feast of St. Joseph, to decorate the vara. The almonds were harvested after mid-August when the outer skin began to open; they were brought to the village because the peeling work was done by the farmer's wife helped by neighbors and relatives and the streets of the towns were filled with deafening but deeply interesting voices. Eliminated with holes, the almonds were left to dry in the sun. Since the comfortable crushers of today did not exist, women gathered later to crush almonds and annittals. The ntritra obtained was sold; only a part was preserved to make u turruni and, during the Christmas period, picciddata. The foreshortening was used ppi ardiri u furnu; the charcoal obtained was one of the best to feed braziers and warmers. Those who had an abundant production sold the almonds to the sinzali who, to crush and select them, hired women who were rewarded with the foreshortening. U minnulitu was a very valuable property and, in the owning families, the grandparents used to bequeath it to the first grandson.