Sicily on Horseback

I sapori di Catania: i piatti tipici

The flavors of Catania: typical dishes

Catania is an ancient port city on the east coast of Sicily. It is located at the foot of Etna, an active volcano with paths that reach its summit. The large central square of the city, Piazza del Duomo, is characterized by the picturesque statue of the Elephant Fountain and the richly decorated Cathedral. In the southwestern corner of the square, La Pescheria, the fish market held on weekdays, is a noisy show surrounded by restaurants serving fish. We will focus in particular on food or rather on the typical foods of Catania, listing the most famous.

Arancino a specialty of Sicilian cuisine

As such, it has been officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies with the name of “rice arancini”. It is a ball or cone of breaded and fried rice, of the 8-10 cm in diameter, usually stuffed with ragù, peas and caciocavallo, or diced ham and mozzarella. The name derives from the original shape and the typical golden color, reminiscent of an orange, but it must be said that in eastern Sicily the arancini more often have a traditional conical shape, to symbolize the Etna volcano.

The rice crispelle (or zeppole di San Giuseppe)

Are typical fried cakes from Catania, made with rice, which are generally prepared in the period of San Giuseppe (March 19). It seems that the Benedictine nuns of the monastery of Catania were the first to make this dessert in the sixteenth century, as evidenced by ancient texts of Catania chroniclers, so much so that zeppole are sometimes called Benedictine.

The scacciata

So called in the area of Catania, also known as impanata (‘mpanata) or as scaccia, is a typical Sicilian artisan baked product, based on bread that can be stuffed with tomato sauce, various vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, aubergines, potatoes, cheese (such as ricotta, tuma or caciocavallo), sausage, shrimp, black olives.

Pasta with sarde (pasta chî sardi)

It is a typical dish of Sicilian cuisine, included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. Originally it is a seasonal dish: it can be prepared from March to September, when fresh sardines are found at the market and wild fennel can be harvested in the fields.

Finally, you can indulge yourself with:

  • cannoli;
  • pistachio from Bronte,
  • honey from Zafferana Etnea;
  • brioche “con il tuppo” with an unmistakable shape);
  • excellent granitas.

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