Aside from the obvious advantages of holidaying in Sicily in May or June when prices are low and the beaches crowd-free, a Spring holiday in Sicily means gastronomy. Dip into your nearest trattoria for a dish of pasta con le sarde or wander along to the local market to stock up on the freshest seasonal ingredients for a gourmet al fresco meal at your own villa. So what are the traditional Sicily food in May?
Springtime traditional Sicily food products
Fish plays a big part in the Sicilian diet year-round but tuna and sword fish are at their best in the Spring and traditionally, this is the time of the annual tuna fishing event, the mattanza. Fresh sardines are also delicious in in the Spring – perfect for a classic dish of pasta con le sarde – accompanied by wild fennel and pine nuts.
April marks the end of the heavy root vegetables and from May, plates are brightened up with spring peas and fresh fava beans. Baby artichokes are piled high on market stalls and pointy spears of wild asparagus punctuate the countryside. Fritedda (or frittella) is a traditional Sicily food, a popular springtime vegetable dish or pasta sauce made with fresh green fava beans, peas and artichoke hearts and is at its best in mid-Spring when these ingredients are freshly harvested. Beans and pulses such as fava, lentils, chickpeas also appear and the first delicate zucchini flowers start to emerge, ready to be stuffed with ricotta or mozzarella and deep fried.
On the fruit front, after months of oranges and lemons dominating market stalls, strawberries and cherries make their first appearance and by the end of May, apricots, peaches and plums herald the real start of summer. Along with the emergence of the early summer fruits comes the multi-flavoured range of iced granita and ice cream and in June, the Nivarata granita festival takes place at Acireale on Sicily’s east coast. Other desserts include the traditional Sicilian favourite of cannoli, made with ricotta produced from sheep’s milk.
If you are interested in a Sicily gourmet tour and take cooking lessons or learn more about preparing Sicilian food during your villa holiday in Sicily, ask us about our market visits and cookery classes where you can learn how to make traditional aubergine caponata, pasta con le sarde and classic swordfish rolls.