Showing posts from December, 2014

New Years Eve with a Lentil Twist

Sicilian tradition says that prosperity is ensured for the year ahead if you eat lentils on New Year’s Eve. No lentils, no money … why take the risk ???? To improve your chance of good fortune, the next day you should eat macaroni, as the Sicilian proverb says “ He who eats macaroni on New Year’s Day for the whole of the year keeps trouble away”. Another tradition involves throwing old plates, glasses, vases and pottery out the window to make room for the new. Although this is rarely practiced these days we have witnessed this tradition in our town so it does not hurt to keep aware of any open windows whilst walking down the street on New Year’s Eve at midnight. Also wearing red underwear helps .... I will leave that one up to you ;-) If you hope to be wealthy in 2015 try this simple Sicilian recipe for Lentil soup: Zuppa di Lenticchie ( Lentil Soup) Zuppa di Lenticchie  (Lentil Soup); serves 4 7oz Lentils, preferably from the Sicilian island of Ustic

Buon Natale ........

Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina Taormina is a charming place to be at Christmas time, the Corso Umberto is adorned with lights and there is a huge Christmas tree in Piazza IX Aprile. On Christmas Eve after dinner and present opening, everyone heads to the Duomo where a huge bonfire is lit at 11pm, the tradition is that the bonfire will keep the baby Jesus warm. The locals call Christmas Eve the Night of Luminaria (Illumination). Evening mass begins at midnight in the Duomo when the priest carries baby Jesus down the cathedral aisle. Duomo, Taormina On a clear Christmas day you will see Mount Etna’s snowy cap sparkling in the winter Sicilian sun as if she has been dusted with icing sugar especially for the festive season. Christmas day morning you will hear the many church bells peel signifying the beginning of Christmas mass. Christmas lunch is usually meat and as expected in Sicily sweets and desserts are of the most importance. The evening is usually

Caltagirone ... City of Ceramics

Steps of Santa Maria del Monte Caltagirone is known as the City of Ceramics and everything there reminds you of that. The city’s buildings, churches, streets and balconies are all decorated with Majolica ceramics ranging from magnificent tiles to beautiful ornaments and plant pots, all of which are hand painted there. The drive from Taormina takes approximately one hour and twenty minutes and you will get to see a different view of Mount Etna than that seen from Taormina. The name Caltagirone comes from the Arabic word Qal’at Ghiran, which means Castle of Pottery Jars and is one of the most ancient Sicilian towns which dates back to prehistoric times. The city was almost destroyed by an earthquake in the region in 1693 and many of the buildings have been rebuilt in a typical Sicilian baroque style. The highlight of the city is the Steps of St. Maria del Monte, which has 142 stairs decorated with beautiful flourished Majolica tiles, each step displays a differen

an abundance of Lemons

Lemons are not real Lemons unless they are Sicilian …. an old Sicilian saying Public Gardens, Taormina Living in Sicily means we have a nonstop supply of mouthwatering lemons and when the lemon trees bloom the air is fragrant with Fiori di Limone, lemon blossom. I can remember once driving down a country lane and being stuck behind an open backed truck full of lemon peel the aroma was over whelming, a traffic jam Sicilian style ..... The Sicilian climate and fertile volcanic earth creates a long growing season and the gathering of lemons takes place over three periods. First is the autumn harvest or Primo Fiore followed by the cultivation of the Bianchetti in Spring and the Verdelli between June and July. My favourite breakfast is a brioche dipped into a zingy lemon granite and a Sicilian meal is not complete without a Limoncello to finish. Lemon Granite Friends will often visit our house bringing with them a carrier bag full of lemons and we love to put