Sicily is at the very heart of my family… we feel the beat of daily life, breathe the culture of the people, soak in the very essence of the place ~ Sicily is to Italy as the genteel southern US states are to the faster-paced northern states. There is a sensual slow-down that occurs almost painfully if you aren’t prepared for it. The women, regardless of age, mourn their losses, dressed in black until their last breaths. The men play briscola and drink the proper beverage… before dinner, an aperitif, after, a digestivo, and in between perhaps a cafe or glass of vino. The children run and play unabashedly and without concern for their safety because they have a whole village to watch over them. This is the only place you wake to listen to the song of the little gelato truck, sometimes running wildly down the narrow alley to get a brioche filled with your favorite gelato con panna ~ yes, for breakfast!
When we return for our annual visits to Galati Mamertino, we eat until we can eat no more… then because we run into another cugini, we happily force ourselves to eat more. Un’ piatini di pasta(only a small plate of pasta) quickly turns to a feast with the tomatoes from the garden so warm and juicy red, simply prepared with olive oil, salt and roughly torn leaves of basil; cured sausage from the special black swine that is only found in that area and prepared in a way that only Sicilians can prepare; homemade tagliatelli cut in the longest ribbons to cradle not one, but two offerings of sauce: pesto or pomodorini; the most tender eggplant sliced and wrapped around homemade macaroni and mozzarella, blanketed by the smooth red sauce done to perfection, baked with even more cheese… oh, and let’s not forget the wine which is so free-flowing, the cafe, the liqueurs…
With all this food being ” forced” on us, we often head to the beaches around Capo d’Orlando for a couple of hours of fasting ~ the snorkeling is fantastic, the sun is almost a constant and the granita is the best!
juice of 8 – 10 lemons, 1 – 2 cups fine sugar, 2 cups water ~ Place all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl; place in freezer, stirring every hour until a thick slush forms; place in small, chilled glasses, enjoy!
Either brew one pot of strong coffee or make about 2 cups of espresso; add about 1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup heavy cream(optional); stir all ingredients together until sugar has dissolved; place in freezer-proof container, allow to cool; place in freezer; stir every hour until thick slush consistency; serve with fresh whipped cream, enjoy!
If you find yourself in Galati, without the Lombardo clan, please stop by our favorite restaurant, La Bettola: Via Cavour, 159, 98070 Galati Mamertino Messina, Italy +39 0941 434952
Tell them we sent you ~ you will be treated as family, and walk away having had one of the most memorable culinary experiences of your life…
I hope this peaks your interest ~ if you need more information, just let me know; if you need a tour guide and translator, well, I can do that, too!