As you might expect the local cuisine of the island has been influenced by centuries of invasion. You could thank the Arab invaders for introducing a fondness for sweet dishes in Palermo as well as a host of now world famous Sicilian desserts and cakes.
Arab Culinary Influence in Sicilian Food
They did bring sugar cane from North Africa and installed the first rudimentary sugar refinery in the area, at nearby Trappeto.
Delights of North African cooking include 'cuscusu'. This is the most basic form of pasta imaginable and is basically a refined version of the Tunisian 'couscous'.
It is made of tiny balls of flour and water which are left to dry in the sun. The pasta is prepared by steaming it over a boiling pan of water.
Whereas the Arab variation is to add lamb or other meat products to the finished dish, in the province of Trapani, the water is often boiled with the local fish to give it a seafood flavour. The fish is then added to the pasta when ready.
Many other foreign dishes have entered Italy via the island and, over the centuries, they have become so absorbed into local culinary tradition that it is difficult to imagine them existing elsewhere.
Rice, saffron, sugar and many vegetables owe their place in Italian gastronomy to the Arab traders and invaders who introduced these exotic foods.
Not so surprising when you consider potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco didn't exist in Europe until the great navigators reached the Americas.
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST and keep in touch with us via the websites below
Choose Your Region
Click on icons for Accommodation, Restaurants and Tours in Sicily
Our articles about Sicily below.
• arancini • sfinciune focaccia • sicilian orange balls • seafood fettuccine pasta • bruschetta from sicily • bread with tomato and aubergine • maccheroni alla norma pasta • cassata alla siciliana • torta povera pie dish • almond blancmange • cous cous fish recipe • pignolata messinese sweet recipe • caper sauce summer dish from lipari • sicilian christmas salad • giggi eoliani carnival biscuits • sardine and pistacchio torta
• small coffee museum in palermo • tuna fishing and the tonnara • historical sicilian cheeses • eolian islands dishes • pachino tomatoes • arab culinary influence in sicilian food • a taste of sicily • cous cous fest • sicilian cannoli • mount etna food itinerary • sfinciune or sfinge? • cheese wine of ragusa • sweet and sour palermo • catching swordfish and tuna • salame sant'angelo • sicilian blood oranges • pistacchio nuts • sicilian lemon industry
• footpaths of the madonie park • carnival of acireale • contemporary art itinerary • noto valley wine route • luigi pirandello literary park • alcamo doc wine route • romantic sicily itinerary • valley of the temples in agrigento • temples of segesta • mozia salt roads • egadi islands • pantelleria • san vito lo capo • marsala • easter week in enna • towns of enna province • arab and norman rule in sicily • nicosia • classical greek theater of siracusa • greek colonization of sicily • pantalica necropolis • lampedusa island • art realism in taormina • taormina greek theater • guide to taormina • guide to messina • province of messina • cefalu • scary easter festivals • natural reserve near siracusa • easter arches of san biagio platani • aeolian islands archaeological tour • story of the trinacria • aeolian islands • island of lipari • alicudi and filicudi • stromboli • island of salina • island of vulcano • zafferana etnea • sicilian linen towns • mount etna tour • ragusa and ibla ragusa • palermo street food