I have never been to Sicily before. The heat, salty clear sea, warm people, passion for food and ingredients, music everywhere has made me completely lose my heart – and the tense jaws are finally starting to relax.
Ortigia, Syracuse is a peninsula with it’s own character. Crumbling white buildings, narrow streets, crystal clear sea and arts everywhere .
We had the best day yesterday. Waking up in the best hotel I have ever stayed in- so sympathetically restored, full of artwork, breakfast terrace overlooking the sea, then went for a boat ride, a swim and a pony and trap ride.
Aside from our hotel and one or two of the restaurants, tourism is not polished here. So the boat ride started with our sitting on the bottom of the boat so that we could pass under a bridge then the music started to blast and the boat started to sing along – sone Italian and the ubiquitous “cheerleader”. Commentary was non existent.
Later we found an exhibition with working models you could touch of Leonardo da Vinci and Archimedes. It was utterly inspiring.
Today I cooked in a Sicilian restaurant kitchen. They took me to the market where we saw the most beautiful tuna and swordfish and where they made me share their sandwich and explained to me that in Sicilia lots of ingredients go in. A sandwich of mortadella, mozzarella, pecorino, tomato, radicchio, honey and lemon in a delicious crunchy (salted!) bread.
Back at the restaurant there was a power cut but I suggested we could still cook. Lots of singing and joking and mostly me chopping whilst three boys in their twenties looked on and told me they were coming to london next year. ( to stay in my loft obviously)
Tonight I finally got hit on by a Sicilian. I was starting to think I’d lost it. He took me down to show me the underground cave in the restaurant which was quite impressive I must admit.