A Perfect Gourmet Day in Palermo

by Darya Boronilo
Sicily is a beautiful Italian island nestled in the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, right at the toe of the “Italian boot” if you are looking at your Italy travel map. It’s time to spend a perfect gourmet day in Palermo. The island is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and a top summer destination with stunning beaches, lovely coastal towns, and sunny weather. But above all, Sicily is also one of the best places on Earth to indulge in hedonistic pleasures! 
Thanks to climate, traditions, cultural aspects, and old family recipes saved from “Nonna,” it tastes like nowhere else!
In addition, with the right planning and dedication, it is possible to become a local gourmet traveler in a day! 
Sicily Island Map South Italy

Gelato for breakfast 

Ice cream for breakfast? Why not?
The tradition of eating a ball of ice cream in fresh buttery brioche is definitely appealing on a hot summer day! Add creamy cappuccino, and there you go, “Magnifico!”  The next sweet stop is for cannoli, obviously.
For instance, most locals advise going for the best Cannoli in a historical confectionery, I Segreti del Chiostro,” located right in the center of Palermo, at the centuries-old monastery. Imagine enjoying the most famous Sicilian dessert in the shade and coolness of the monastery garden. Envision sitting next to the town squares’ prominent fountain, your fingers sticky from sweet ricotta cream, and with a full heart. In other words, this is “a great local experience.” 
Plate with Cannoli Sweet Italian Dessert

Moving pizza? Go catch it!   

Sfincione is the most popular local pizza. The exceptionally delicious sfincione can be bought from Antica Sfincioneria,” a tiny traditional store “on the wheels.” They still go along the narrow streets of the Sicilian capital and use the loudspeaker to sell the mouth-watering pieces of street food in Sicily.
This is your time to act! Firstly wave to the tiny van to stop. After that, the cheerful seller will skillfully pack your cherished slice, sprinkled with homemade fresh olive oil, and carefully wrap it into traditional paper.
 Now unfold the bundle, and taste the lush dough with a crispy crust. In addition, fresh tomato sauce and soft cheese generously cover your snack. Time to enjoy your “brunch”! 
Sfincione popular Italian pizza from Sicily

Fascinating cultural mix 

 The island’s local food reflects historical Arabic and European influence fascinatingly. One of Sicily’s best and oldest examples of street foods is the panelle sandwich. It appeared on the island in the 9th century when Arabs dominated Sicily.

A bite of this chickpea-based fritter sprinkled with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon might be a good idea. Doing this while walking between the narrow rows of the market with colorful stands and eating Sicilian street foods will complete the experience of a gourmet day in Palermo.

Panelle Sandwich chickpea-based fritter sprinkled with drops of lemon

Summer market experience  

Vucciria’s market has many small cafes. Many of them serve parmigiana di Melanzane, a classical baked Italian dish of thinly sliced and fried eggplant separated with layers of tomato sauce infused with fresh basil and stretchy gooey mozzarella cheese.
It is the result of the cultural mix that originated in Sicily in the 16th century. The Arabs introduced the eggplant, while later, the Spaniards brought tomatoes. A great lunch option: enjoying this “comfort” food while sitting under the shade of a canopy built in haste, sipping a glass of cold table wine, and of course, people-watching.  
Parmigiana di Melanzane, baked Italian dish on a plate

Messier but happier  

The afternoon is perfect for heading to Arancinando cafe. Time to try arancini, golden stuffed rice balls with a crispy crust filled with melting mozzarella, meat ragu, green peas, or mushrooms; the island’s most common street food dish. No forks or plates here.
As the flavor-filled oil drips down from your newfound tidbit and your fingers become stained from golden saffron, you’ll understand why Sicily is a destination for delicious Italian foods. Prepare to leave this place a little messier than when you arrived however, very delighted. 
Arancini stuffed rice balls with a crispy crust

That local dinner place! 

The best way to find a good spot to eat is to ask a local. As a result, you might find yourself behind the bar of a family restaurant. Be prepared for a generous bowl of cozze in tomato sauce and a huge ciotola of couscous with seafood. Sicilians prepare this typical Moroccan dish with seasoned fresh fish caught in the Mediterranean.  
Speaking of fish, a gourmet day in Palermo wouldn’t be whole without enjoying traditional swordfish or pesce spada alla siciliana is something not to miss; soft fillet topped with locally found ingredients such as sauteed capers, garlic, tomato, and pine nuts to completely amaze your palate! The dish represents one of Sicilian cuisine’s most traditional and appreciated second courses. From April to October, swordfish passes through the Strait of Messina every year, and local fishermen catch it fresh aboard their feluccas, maintaining this millenary custom. 
Bowl of cozze in tomato sauce and a huge ciotola of couscous with seafood

Wine accents and rooftop sunsets! 

Take a cold glass of local white Grillo or a glass of red Nero d’Avola. Sip it at the rooftop terrace welcoming the sunset over Palermo’s golden roofs. The island produces fresh, mineral-rich, and well-structured wines in the volcanic soils of Etna, Sicily’s active stratovolcano on the east coast.  
Above all, relax, sit back, hold your glass, and enjoy how the sun goes down just as beautifully as what was in your glass in one of the World’s uniquely delicious places! An excellent way to end a perfect gourmet day in Palermo…
Rooftop view in Palermo Italy at night
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