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Sicilian food over Christmas time

Sara Lisciotto Eastern Sicily, Food and Wine, History and Culture, Messina, Western Sicily Leave a Comment

What is Sicily famous for? The Sicilian food tradition is deeply rooted into the island culture, and it can show all its creativity through the Sicilian recipes authentic taste, especially prepared during particular occasions. The Sicilian food is not only rich in flavor and full of colors, but furthermore it is an important way of sharing moments together.

For sure, Sicilians do not need to wait for Christmas to meet and eat together, but Christmas holiday time is one of the favorite periods of the year where to exaggerate planning rich lunches and tasty dinners, writing a Sicilian Italy foods list, going to the supermarket, buying all the ingredients and getting ready to prepare the typical Sicily’s menu to celebrate Christmas. Lot of Sicilian food and Sicilian recipes authentic of the Sicilian cuisine are the products of the contamination occured with several people, demonstrating us how the mingling of different cultures produces since ever wonderful and delicious results, especially in the Sicilian cuisine.

Let’s see below the Sicilian Italy foods list we usually eat at Christmas in Sicily.

Sicilian food: the Sicilian recipes authentic taste

What is Sicily like in December? The lights on the Christmas tree, the nativity scene, the melody of Christmas songs, our  beautiful reindeer sweater, the candles on a long table set in red and the delicious food scent coming from the kitchen: this is a picture of Sicily during December holidays. At Christmas families gather around a table spending long hours together. They exchange  presents, play cards and most of all they enjoy eating typical Sicilian foods. So while children are opening presents under the Christmas tree, granny and mommy are busy in the kitchen from the early morning to prepare their Sicily’s menu to bring joy at the table and to surprise family and friends.

The Sicilian food can vary according to the different cities traditions. The Sicilian cuisine often includes many peasant food recipes, but all of them share the rich and full-bodies flavors of the past and the abundance of the dishes. Anyway, at the end of the meal there will always be a little space in the stomach to be filled with our delicious Sicily desserts.

  • Sicilian pasta recipes: among the Sicilian pasta recipes prepared for Christmas lunch there is the pasta al forno, also known as pasta ‘ncaciata, that varies depending on the Sicily Italy foods list of every different cities: the main ingredients are tomato sauce, eggs, ham, eggplants and tuma cheese; other Sicilian food and Sicilian pasta recipes specifically prepared for Christmas include the so-called pasticcio di Noto, often considered as unique dish because of its abundance: it is a dough stuffed with pasta, tomato sauce, minced meat, cauliflower, pecorino cheese and ricotta.
  • Sicilian foods meat and Sicilian fish dishes: for a perfect Sicily’s menu at Christmas, Sicilians have to choose among meat or Sicilian fish. Among meat-based Sicilian foods there are the messinesi meat rolls, sausages, meatloaf and the typical falsomagro. This name comes from the French “farce de maigre”, where the word “farce” means lie and the word “maigre” means low-fat, and indeed the falsomagro is anything but a simple and light dish.  It is a big meat roll stuffed with eggs, minced meat, ham, pecorino cheese, bread crumb, and for those who want to exaggerate also lard and mortadella. The diet is postponed until January! The Sicilian fish dishes bring to the table the taste of the sea. The Sicilian food on Christmas includes wonderful delicacies hard to refuse, such as fried squids, smoked herrings, or stuffed squids. In Messina instead, over Christmas there are many recipes of Sicilian food made with stock fish and salt cod.  Both of them need a soaking of several hours before to be cooked. They are two variant of the same fish, that is cod, the one naturally dried and the other preserved in salt. This fish was introduced in the Sicilian cuisine by the Normans who used to bring it to Sicily form Norway to employ it as a merchandise, and by the fishermen returning home from the Northern seas. Sicilian women learnt to prepare it with love for their husbands, pairing it with typical Sicilian foods and ingredients, such as capers and olives. Therefore, among the Sicily Italy foods list of the Sicilian cuisine in Messina, the Sicilian food can make you enjoy the Sicilian recipes authentic taste with the traditional  fried salt cod, the messinese stock fish salad or the so-called ghiotta stockfish, prepared with the Sicilian sauceghiotta”, made with tomato, capers, olives, raisins and pine nuts. You can try another Sicilian recipes authentic taste by eating the sarde a beccafico, a particular kind of Sicilian fish, rolled and filled with bread crumb, raisins and pine nuts. This recipe is part of the Sicily and Italy foods list as one of the many peasant food recipes, created for the first time as an imitation of the noble warblers, birds hunted and cooked by the noble Sicilians in the past.

If you aren’t hungry yet, keep on reading to discover the outcome of a typical Sicily’s menu over Christmas holidays.

Sicily desserts:  the delightful conclusion of the Christmas Sicily’s menu

So this is it, the most challenging part of the meal is over, but before clearing the table and starting playing cards, opening presents or watching a Christmas movie on the sofa (maybe this time we'll avoid popcorn), we still miss something. At the end of the meal the Sicilian cuisine provides the tradition of eating dried nuts, such as peanuts, nuts, hazelnuts, and dried figs. And that’s not all! There is still a little more space to be filled to conclude the lunch or the dinner: we are obviously talking about the Sicily desserts to go with the final toast!

Along with the classic pandoro and panettone, which we like to cover with pistachio cream, it is a must to enjoy our delicious sweet Sicilian food: so let’s get some space on the table for cannoli and cassate, kings and queens of the ricotta-based sweet Sicilian foods, but also to torroni and the most traditional Christmas Sicily desserts, the buccellati: biscuits originated in Castellammare del Golfo, stuffed with dried figs, almonds, nuts, honey, jam and raisins. Sicily desserts are usually paired with sweet Sicilian wines or homemade Sicilian drinks, such as Limoncello, Malvasia, Passito and Zibibbo.

Now that the lunch is really over it may happen to hear someone say “I won’t eat for two days”, “I have to go on a diet!” or something like this, but don’t worry, it’s just a temporary feeling! We guarantee that after few hour from the digestion there will be someone already thinking about what to eat the next day. These are all typical effects and facts about Sicily Italy when it comes to Sicilian food.

Cheers! Merry Christmas to all of you from the staff Discover Messina!