Sicilian cuisine is part of a complex and articulated regional gastronomic culture, which shows traces and contributions from all the cultures that have settled in Sicily over 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 arancini, panelle and crocché are universally known. Even fish, in many varieties, is an important food of Sicilian cuisine. Among the desserts typical of the region are not to forget the cannoli, the classic cassata, almond cakes and ravioli.
Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is a town in the province of Trapani, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, at the mouth of the river Màzaro and less than 200 km 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 eleventh century, and a district with an Islamic urban plan typical of the "medinas", called Casbah, of which the narrow streets are a 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, a weapon base for a fleet of about 350 large offshore trawlers (with about 4,000 fishermen on board), which fall every 20 days. In Mazara, about 3,000 immigrants reside, often with their families, mostly from the Maghreb, who have been employed for more than 25 years in the fishing, farming and artisanal activities of the city. They mainly reside in the historical city center of Arab origin. Mazara also rose to the forefront of the news in March 1998, when a local fishing boat, commanded by Captain Francesco Adragna, recovered, about 480 meters deep in the waters of the Sicilian Channel, a bronze sculpture of over 2 meters, dating back to the period Hellenistic, known as the Dancing Satyr. The statue, after being restored and having been for a short period on display in Rome, near Montecitorio, is now exhibited in Mazara in the homonymous museum 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 sour taste, were tasted in late spring; when the climatic conditions were favorable some branches, laden with fruits, intertwined with shoots of Favaiani, were used, on the occasion of the feast of St. Joseph, to decorate the vara. 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 villages were filled with deafening but deeply interesting voices. Eliminated by the opening of holes, the almonds were left to dry in the sun. Since today's comfortable crushers did not exist, the women gathered at a later time to crush the almonds and annip them. The extracted income was sold; only one part was kept to make u turruni and, during the Christmas period, the picciddata. The foreshortening was used ppi ardiri u furnu; the charcoal was one of the best to feed braziers and warmers. Those who had an abundant production sold almonds to the saints who, to crush and select them, took on women who were rewarded with a glimpse. U minnulitu was a very valuable property and, in the landowning families, the grandparents used to leave it to the first nephew.