Monday, June 18, 2012

Day by day tour of Sicily #FCPDPG : Capo Market, Palermo #GardenCuizine

Sicilian Culture and Cuisine
Palermo, Sicily - day 2

Our excursion to Sicily with the Food and Culinary Professionals' Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gave us an even greater appreciation of the richness of Italian culture and cuisine.  

Our 10-day, fully packed trip was especially designed to provide us with opportunities to learn and see as much as possible in our brief time there. Day 2 for us was actually the first day for others in the group, since we arrived a day early to get acclimated to the time zone change. 

This day, our group was lead by the Duchess of Palma, Nicoletta Polo, who showed us what she looks for when selecting fresh fish and vegetables. In the morning we shopped for greens, fennel, strawberries and swordfish to cook in our Italian, hands-on cooking class held later that day at her historic seaside palazzo.
Palermo boasts several markets. We visited the famous Capo Food Market, the oldest market in Palermo, which reminded us of Philadelphia's Italian Market in some ways. As we walked around Capo Market, we heard the traditional cries of food vendors trying to attract us to their displays.
Vendors had stands full of fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, olives, herbs, nuts, meats and fish typical of the Mediterranean region. Even cucuzza Italian squash was displayed - the garden beast that my family banned from our garden last year after its vigorous growing vines nearly covered everything in sight!

In Sicily, early spring is the peak of artichoke season; artichokes could be found everywhere. 

On the side streets at Capo Market dogs could be seen lying around. Did they have owners? They appeared to be homeless.
The home of the Duke and Duchess of Palma was simply gorgeous - complete with a garden balcony featuring a goldfish pond and breathtaking tropical plants surrounded by Italian artisan tile-work. I'll be sharing more details of their luxurious garden in an article coming soon on Dave's Garden. The terrace view overlooked the Palermo coastline and the bay on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lavender wisteria was in full bloom, cascading beneath the windows.
The beautifully restored 18th century palazzo by the sea was the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, who wrote the famous novel “The Leopard”. We gathered in one of the kitchens used for cooking classes. The walls were lined in blue and white tile with a central window that looked out upon a garden courtyard. Under Nicoletta's direction we all shared tasks in preparing dinner.
Green Olive, Almond, Caper and Basil Tapenade
Sun-dried Cherry Tomato, Pistachio and Almond croutons
 Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto sauce 
Swordfish rolls
Orange and Fennel Salad, Sicilian Style
Mixed Baby Greens with Citron, Nasturtium Blossoms and Orange, Honey Vinaigrette
Tangerine and Orange Jelly with Spiced Strawberry
served with Sicilian wines: Leone Tasca d'Amerita 2010 - Reagaleali Rosso d'Amerita 2009 and Veechio Florio Marsala Superiore 2007
We were divided into two groups: some dined with the Duchess; our group dined with her husband - the Duke of Palma. The gala Sicilian dinner was served in a magnificent dining room with book-lined walls. Many of the books he recalled reading as a child. 
Our day ended with a gaze out the window and a toast to a wonderful evening with new food and culinary professional friends. It was truly a memorable day!

grazie a tutti

watch for Sicily day 3 post coming soon...
Related Links: Cooking with the Duchess
Duchess for a Day
Blog post and photos copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

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