The Ultimate Sicilian Food Tour
My 2 favorite things in life are travel and food in that order.
In my opinion, there is no better way to spend a vacation than to eat you way through it.
Last week I planned to spend the weekend in Catania, Sicily so before I left I was surfing one of my FB Travel Groups for ideas of things to do in the area. I came across a food tour that someone suggested called the Streat Cantania Food Tour. I contacted the company and reserved my spot immediately. I simply sent an email and Glenda had my spot reserved through email in a very timely fashion.
This walking tour runs Monday – Staturday year round and roughly start at 1030 depending on late arrivals, but the tour begin will no later than 1040. The tour typically lasts about 4 hours, so bring empty bellies and your walking shoes!
Our tour guide, Aureliano, met us in front of the cathedral, introduced himself, handed us our food passport and began with a little history about Catania and the Cathedral di Saint Agata. What I liked about this tour is that, not only was it a food tour, but we learned a lot about the history of Catania as well. After learning about a few symbolic monuments in the Piazza we were off to our first food stop, Café Etolie D’Or, where we tried Arancino. Originating in Sicily, Arancino are stuffed rice balls, coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. Some are stuffed with mushrooms, pistachios, eggplant, cheese, spinach, but the original version is stuffed with meat ragu and cheese. No fork and knife needed, they are super easy to eat and delicious!!! Before leaving Café Etolie D’Or we were able to meet the owner of the shop and she actually stamped our food passport!!! I loved the personal touch this added to the tour.
Our next stop was to the fish market to meet Carlo. Carlo ran this little stand where he prepared, Sanguinaccio & Stigghiola, the remaining pieces of animals that are NOT usually eaten, like the stomach, intestines, tendons and breasts. I know what you’re thinking…..WHO EATS THAT?!?! But sometimes you gotta live a little!! JUST TRY IT!!! Even in the African American culture, slaves were given the “scraps” for food, so I kinda connected with this. We cook intestines, or chitterlings, and eat them as a delicacy too! OH BOY do I love me some chitterlings!!! But back to Carlo…..his “scraps” tasted so good Im going to have to go back and tell my momma! Carlo is the last person at the fish market preparing all the insides for the locals to eat. His family has been doing this for 6 generations. Go try it before he’s gone!!
Another plus about the tour is that all the food stops are located somewhat near each other, so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking for miles before you get to eat again. We continued our walk through the local streets and trying different cheeses and even some items that weren’t on our Food Passport, like huge baked sweet onions that melted in your mouth.
Our next stop was at Bar Mazzini, where we tried my 2nd favorite dish, the Cipollona. The Cipollina is like a piece of bread stuffed with onions and cheese….its so delicious. And these come in many different varieties as well. I had one (at another location) with ham, cheese and boiled eggs inside…..the best thing ever!!
After our Cipollina stop, we walked to my FAVORITE stop. Sad thing is I didn’t even get the name of the restaurant. But the reason I LOVED this place soooooooo much is because they served the best, Carne de Cavallo or horse I ever had!! Well…..it was the the first time I even had horse….but it was delicious and I liked it!!! It was tender and seasoned PerrrrrrFECTLY!! Believe me, I am the biggest animal lover there is, but just try it, I beg you!!! JUST TRY IT!! It will knock your socks off. There was a lady on my tour who was from Australia who REFUSED to try the horse patties….but she eats Kangaroo?!?!?!?! Just saying……
And no food tour would be complete with out a dessert stop. We stopped to have granita, Sicily’s no milk version of ice cream. It’s only made in about 8-10 flavors, with lemon being the original. Popular flavors are the mandorla (almond) and pistachio. This tastes amazing, its so smooth and refreshing and an excellent choice for all you lactose intolerant people out there. Locals eat the granita and a piece of bread for breakfast in the summer months!!
I’ve been on a few food tours in my day, but this is one of my favorite! I HIGHLY, highly recommend this tour…..small group size, its fun, interesting and you learn about more than just food all for just 39 euro per person. My tour guide was very knowledgeable on the history of Catania and the food that was served to us. Again, the tour runs everyday during the summer months at 1030 and be prepared to meet new folks, walk, talk and eat for 4 hours. If I could change one thing, I would start the tour an just an hour earlier…..the heat in the summer months can be harsh! And I know 4 hours seems long, but I guarantee it’s worth it. Last note, like it was suggested to me, take the tour at the beginning of your trip so you know what to eat for the rest of your trip!
Contact Info to book a Streat Catania tour or Streat Palermo tour is below. YES, they are in both cities, TRY THEM BOTH!! I haven’t done the one in Palermo, but it’s on the list for next time! ENJOY!!!
Social: facebook.com/streatpalermo; twitter.com/streatpalermo