For a quick, cheap and delicious treat, stop at your local gelateria and order your favorite flavor. Then click on this story from the weekend section of the Wall Street Journal: “In Search Of The Perfect Gelato—In pursuit of the ultimate in cold, creamy, silky, slushy goodness across the island of Sicily. La vita doesn’t get more dolce than this.” It’s a very entertaining account of a writer’s quest to find the perfect gelato in Sicily.
Joe Ray wound his way from Cerda to Cefalu and Palermo to Catania in search of the perfect gelato with flavors like mandarin orange, not-too-bitter lemon, hazelnut, pistachio and almond. I immediately thought of my own culinary adventures in Sicily. Sitting on the slopes of Mt. Etna eating a rustic lunch of goat cheese, bruschette, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian sausages, lamb and home-made pastas, accompanied by the excellent red Etna wine. Another visit took me to the Aeolian islands just off Sicily’s northeast coast. The inhabitants of Lipari and its sister islands—Panarea, Stromboli, Salina, Vulcano—are all extremely friendly. We stopped midday in a seaside trattoria only to find that while it was not open for lunch, the friendly owner was happy to prepare eggplant and tomato sandwiches in freshly baked rolls—accompanied by the family’s young wine, served in a terra cotta jug.
Sicily is so strategically located off Italy’s toe that it’s been inhabited by every major Mediterranean power over the last 2000 years. So it’s no surprise that the island’s architecture, people and even gelato reflect the finest blend of Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, French, Spanish, and Italian influences. Classic Journeys operates award-winning, boutique cultural walking adventures that immerse travelers into Sicily’s history and culture. And while some guests go for the Byzantine mosaics and Greek temples of Agrigento, and others for the scenic vistas of Mt. Etna or the shopping in Taormina, some go just for the perfect gelato. Buon appetito!