What do you eat for breakfast in Sicily?
It is known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is certainly a valid thing almost globally, in almost every culture in the world. It’s the perfect meal to give you the energy you need to get through the day in the right way. Every country has its “breakfast food,” certain dishes that generally lend themselves very well to giving your day a boost! Just think of the typical “Croissant” in France, or the full English breakfast with bacon, eggs, toast and beans. Or the typical Italian “Caffè e Cornetto”, to talk about our country. Whether sweet or savoury, the breakfast in Sicily, as you can expect, is something not to be underestimated in any way and it’s definitely different to the typical “Caffè and Cornetto”, but let’s have a look!
Breakfast in Sicily
For us Sicilians this is not a simple meal, but a real ritual, a habit that we cannot skip in any way! Breakfast in Sicily does not identify only one specific dish: we Sicilians have in front of us a practically infinite choice (even the number of calories tends to be infinite). But if we want to categorize everything, I would say we can divide these delicacies into two macro-categories: sweet and savoury. The places where to have your beloved breakfast are practically endless: in Sicily we are not limited to the typical “Bar”, but a good breakfast can be found in bakeries, pastry shops, ice cream parlors, “rosticcerie”, or by the typical sellers of Street food.
So let’s go in order and take a look at what these dishes consist of, starting with the sweet category!
We want to start right away with the queen of sweet summer breakfasts: the granita with brioche col tuppo. If you are in Sicily in the summertime, this is for sure the best breakfast you can have! Lemon granita, or almond granita, chocolate granita or coffee granita, the latter typically served with a splash of whipped cream (you know, we have to keep it light, right?), all served with the inevitable side dish of brioche with the tuppo: soft, sweet, fragrant, still warm.
Is that all? Absolutely not! Throughout the year you can enjoy all the most classic sweets of Sicilian tradition: cannoli, cassatine or sweet ravioli stuffed with ricotta, all served with a good coffee in ceramic cups at a scorching temperature. But if we move away from these historical recipes, we can find other delicacies, real gems of Sicilian oven productions. One of these is surely the Treccina, a very soft brioche with a braided shape (hence the name “treccina” literally “little braid”) and covered with sugar, or the millefeuille “cousins” of treccine with the interesting addition of raisins. If instead, you want to stay on the bland and conform to the inland breakfast, you can still take a Croissant, but at least try it with an incredible filling of pistachio cream!
But let’s not forget all those sweet delights cooked with the Sicilians’ favourite cooking method: frying. Among these stand out for their goodness (and caloric intake) the iris, which is an incredible sweet bread stuffed with ricotta cream and strictly fried. To keep it company we have the famous Cartocci stuffed with ricotta cheese, similar to the most famous Cannoli but with a dough made of brioche dough and covered with sugar. We end this triad of fried foods with Graffe Siciliane, sweet fried doughnuts covered with sugar (very common in the area of Catania).
And now let’s move on to the savoury breakfast in Sicily, my favourite and in my opinion the most intriguing, with flavours that would be difficult for someone to match to a breakfast! From north to south, from east to west, all over Sicily you will be spoiled for choice in a virtually endless variety of “rosticceria” or “tavola calda”, the Sicilian fast food par excellence. What exactly are we talking about? The easiest example is surely the Arancina/Arancino (Arancina with an “a”, female in the Rosticceria Siciliana typical from Palermo and Arancino with an “o”, masculine, typical from the Tavola Calda of Messina and Catania). These delicious rice balls are one of the most famous “pezzi di rosticceria” of Sicilian gastronomy, but we have many other choices, both fried and baked. Such as ravazzate, or cipolline, scacce, or even the more classic Calzoni, Pizzette and Rollò col würstel. All dishes that you can easily find are freshly baked in the morning in bakeries and bars!
All the savory dishes we have mentioned are all contemplated and “accepted” as breakfast in Sicily: despite the incredibly high caloric intake, it is not unusual to see locals eating these delicacies at 8 am, so do not have any kind of problem and if you are in Sicily take the opportunity to taste these goodies!
Surely we’ve forgotten something in this list, but if you’ve visited Sicily, what was your favourite Sicilian breakfast? Let us know in the comments!