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The Best Cheeses and Street Foods to Try in Sicily, Italy

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Taormina's Greek Theater with the Etna in the background, Italy.

Sicily is a melting pot of gastronomic heritage found in the best cheeses and street foods that you can sample during your Italy trip to find a collection of cultures and traditions from those who have historically occupied the island.

The exceptional cuisine of Sicily utilizes local ingredients to create flavors for a culinary adventure featured in surprising spices or indulgent textures. Whether within shops displayed in the historic cheeses or stalls in popular marketplaces, the cuisine represents the eclectic heritage from around the Mediterranean.

The following list compiles the best cheeses and street foods you will discover as you wander the streets of Sicily, Italy to find cannoli to arancini, capers to ricotta cheese.

Sicilian Cheese

Cheese has been produced on the island of Sicily for over two millennia. The age, style, and traditional production have changed from province to province. This has resulted in a range of cheeses from fresh to aged, and those made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk. The popularity of cheese is ingrained in the island’s culinary heritage, reflected in several Protected Designation of Origin cheeses. The PDO status ensures products are locally produced and packaged to protect the traditional methods and celebrated flavors of each specific area. Below are the three iconic Sicilian cheeses to try while you travel and often featured in the famous street food.

Ragusano PDO: Ragusano cheese is made from Modicana cow’s milk. The cows graze exclusively on the fresh grass of the province, resulting in the particular floral flavors of the cheese.

Pecorino Siciliano PDO: Pecorino cheese is made from sheep’s milk around the Italian peninsula. The tradition of making pecorino cheese dates back to ancient Greece when pecorino was considered one of the best cheeses in the world.

Ricotta: Ricotta in Sicily can be made from cow, sheep, goat, or buffalo’s milk, with some cheeses combining several types of milk on the island. Ricotta has a creamy, fluffy texture when fresh and is known for filling desserts like cannoli or topping sponge cake known as Sicilian cassata, but when salted or baked ricotta goes well with savory dishes like traditional Sicilian Pasta alla Norma.

Sicilian Street Food

The origins of Sicilian street food date back to the ancient Greeks, however, the popularity blossomed under the reign of Arab settlers around the 10th century. The traditional street food of Sicilian cities encompasses full, quick, inexpensive meals at stalls or vendors on the street. Sicilian street food, although affordable, is exquisite and culinary tours across the island to prominent vendors will give you a taste of what it is like to be an Italian local. Typical Sicilian street food includes the following three celebrated dishes.

Arancini: The most common street food found around Sicily is the arancini, a deep-fried rice ball stuffed with different fillings. The dish derives from the Arab colonization of Sicily and continues to reflect the diverse cultural integrity of Sicilian cuisine.

Sfincione: The thick Italian pizza is a typical item found across the street food scene in Sicily, and it is topped with tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and caciocavallo cheese. The dish has softer, taller characteristics than traditional pizza. The spongy texture of the dish allows the sauce to soak into the soft bread for an even more delicious combination of flavors.

Stigghiola: Stigghiola consists of either calf or lamb intestines grilled over charcoal representing the island’s wealth of cultural culinary heritage displayed from the different stalls around the island. The aroma of smoke and the seasoned meat will entice your senses and attract you and locals of Sicily to the vendors each morning.

Thinking of Trying Sicilian Cuisine in Italy?

Sicily is a dream Italian gastronomic destination that you can visit on customizable Zicasso tours with our Italy Vacation Page. Dreaming of a unique Italian pizza variation topped with tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and caciocavallo cheese or interested in sampling the three iconic PDO status cheeses? Learn how to have your perfect experience with our Italy Travel Guide. Ready for a food tour around Sicily and yearning to enjoy the best cheeses and street foods of the island? Contact a Sicily travel specialist for further information and travel advice by filling out a Trip Request or contacting us on 1-888-265-9707.

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