Eating in Sicily does not just mean eating. It means everything else. The way you eat in Italy, especially Sicily is more of an experience rather than the act of filling up your tummy or nourishing you.
I get asked lots of times: ‘How come you guys eat so much but you do not put any weight on?’
Well, it is because eating for us is like going to the gym for others and it is a time during which we totally let go of everything and relax. Note: This period of time is very very very long…It usually takes the whole day.
This means that what Sicilians do every day is EATING.
Eating with love, with passion, with taste, with awareness and in communion with others.
It is a beautiful sharing.
In Sicily people usually take an ice cream cake, cannoli siciliani or cassata or bigne’ when they are invited for lunch or dinner somewhere. It has slowly become a common thing to do. More than anything it is a habit. Sicilians just want to make sure that the meal is complete and that they are really full so that they can enjoy a very long siesta during which all the sugar and carbs get positioned well in their tummy without needing to leave that area. See, Sicilians really love food. They love it so much that even though they eat it, they still wanna keep it inside. That’s why they have siesta: because in that way the food will remain stuck in their tummy. For ever. Sicilians and food are inseparable. Everything is about food and the wine of course.
The first question they ask when they see a foreigner is: What do you eat in your country? Then their questions start getting a bit racist: Are you telling me, you guys DON’T eat pasta??? See, for them it is unbelievable not to eat pasta. The third question is more of a reaction to the last answer: So, WHAT THE HELL do you eat (if not pasta)? For them it is impossible to imagine a meal without pasta and tomato sauce. And if you are invited and you don’t eat one of their thousand meals, then you’d better be strategic about it, because if they see it, they will put minimum the double of what you refused to eat on your plate.
That’s when you say you don’t want that particular dish. Imagine when you say you love that dish!!! That’s when they will fill you up til you feel like falling from the chair, they give it to you for home and they will cook it every time you come for a visit. Yes, cuz a visit is not just a visit. It means you go to visit people for a coffee (that’s what North European would call it) in the morning…say before lunch (that’s called aperitivo in Sicily/Italy) and you stay for lunch and dinner. You basically pass all day together, sitting around the table and eating til God knows when.
The aperitivo is a complete different chapter in this culture. We usually have two aperitivi a day, one before lunch and one before dinner. Going out for an aperitivo means going out for a coffee. What is so different is the experience of it. First of all, the aperitivo is a drink (usually Aperol, Martini Bianco or Rosso, Crodino, Prosecco or any other sophisticated drink) accompanied by ‘snacks’. Second, those snacks are not actual snacks. Or would you call pizza, arancine ( huge balls filled with rice, saffron and bolognese sauce), panelle and olive ascolane a snack??? In other countries this food is considered a whole meal. But remember that in Sicily it is just a snack. The real meal comes after the super long aperitivo during which you are usually filled up til your throat. Siclians, however, have got plenty of space after the aperitivo.
The main point of the aperitivo, however, is gathering and socializing with people.
So, the reason behind being and looking so healthy is:
We just eat with passion. We enjoy every bite, every sip of wine or whatever we are drinking and we enjoy the company while savouring our divine food.
Eating in Sicily is more like a style, a way of life…rather than a need.
It is expressive art. If you look at the picture I posted above, you get a feeling of what I mean.
We put our focus on food and quality.
La vita e’ bella….la dolce vita.