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Delicious Local Products: Food and Wine Souvenirs
Food and wine souvenirs are almost endless in Sicily. The most interesting places to shop are the markets and sometimes even local people's homes. The Aeolian Islands, along with Syracuse, Taormina and Cefalu, have a considerable number of excellent gourmet delis and wine shops. And believe me, you just can't resist buying some of those delicious local products.
What to buy: - wine - red, white and dessert wines
- extra virgin olive oil - the best is organic, if you can find it
- tuna fillets in oil
- vegetables in oil - spiced capers, black and green olives, eggplants in oil and chilli pepper
- various vegetable spreads
- dried tomatoes
- dried wild oregano
- roasted almonds and pistachios
- pine nuts
- organic fruit marmalade - prepared in the 'agritourist' farms, have a unique natural flavour (try to get it with little sugar); most typical are made from citrus fruits: orange, clementine, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit
- honey - the fragrant and rare orange and lemon blossom honey
- Sicilian sweets - great variety of almond paste treats, marzipan fruit and even chocolate
Oh, I'm so glad that I was by car :)
What to pay: less touristy is the place and more inland you go, better is the priceRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
What to buy: Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes here. They are great to accompany other food purchases such as the olive oil and the bottle of wine. When returning home to the US, the agricultural inspector had not problem with bringing food of this type back into the country, likely because it is well packaged. If you are in Silicia, be sure to eat some pasta while you are there. The setting, taste of the food, and the service will be a great memory of the trip. Gifts of these types are usually inexpensive, but they are well appreciated when given to those who like to cook.
What to pay: A few euros, typically.Related to:
- Food and Dining
What to buy: Italy produces some of the world's best wines and they do have a great variety to choose from. I bought my mom a botle of wine here that was grown from the volcanic soils of Mt. Etna, thus the "Russo Etna" on the label. These make great gifts, although be sure to check your home country's customs policies concerning how much alcohol you can bring back with you.
What to pay: Prices will vary greatlyRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
What to buy: Italy is especially famous for olive oil, and there is a good chance that the olive oil for sale in your local store was imported from this country. Sicilia has a countless variety of olive oils that can be purchased. They make excellent gifts for your friends and family members who enjoy cooking. Of course, do not forget to save some for yourself!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Outdoor Flower Market: For Fresh Flowers
While in Siracusa, Allan and I did a great deal of walking all around the city to pick up the "flavor" of the people, the culture, and the ambience.
Siracusa is quite a large city, but it has the feel of a much smaller place. I think that we felt that way because the people were so friendly and welcoming and because there were outdoor markets all over the place.
One of the places that I especially enjoyed was the outdoor Flower Market. The photo shows me purchasing some flowers at this market. I was buying the flowers for a woman that we met by accident. (See tip under Culture)
What to buy: The man who sold the flowers was very kind and helpful. He knew I only spoke broken Italian and not very good at that.
The prices were reasonable; the flowers were fresh; the wrapping of the flowers was art itself. I was quite pleased with the outdoor shops in Siracusa, especially the Outdoor Flower Shop.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The ceramic of Caltagirone
Many shops of craft industry and a co-operative.
What to buy: In all Italy, the ceramics of Caltagirone is known! One can buy plates, mirrors, frameworks...
What to pay: The prices vary according to the artist and from the size of the object, but in general it is rather expensive.
Good pastries shops: Frutta Martorana
What to buy: "Frutta di Martorana" also called "royal pasta " are almond marzipan pastries colored and shaped to resemble real fruit. The Martorana fruit takes its name from the old norman Style Convent of the Martorana in Palermo. It seems that the nuns of the convent were the first able to prepare such delicious thinghs!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Any: Nothing has a real price
The problem with the shops and markets in sicily is that nothing has a real price, make sure you dont get riped off, im sicilian and i get riped off ALSO!! when i go over their to see my family.so make sure you know the right price, if you feel like it argue back becuse that usual scares them.
What to buy: Cheap Watches
Fresh fruit (which i recomend if your hungry)
Typical Sicilian Fare
What to buy: Anything produced in Sicily is a good buy.
- Olive Oil
There are a huge variery of things made with the above items of which you should try then buy. I loved the Dolci di Mandorle - small sweet almond cakes. You will also see a lot of almond paste moulded into fruit, vegetables and even fish. It looks as good as it tastes and makes a nice unusual gift for the family back home!
Sicily also produces some good wine. Ask the retailer to help recommend a bottle - normally the higher the price the better the wine.Related to:
- Family Travel
Enna markets: Markets in the Mediterranean
Nothing quite like rocking up to a town to discover the market day is in full flourish.
Clothing, fruit & veg, shoes, groceries, flowers et al., it's all there and it's usually cheap and there's a bustling atmosphere and a feeling that you're bargain hunting and, let's face it, you are.
In a couple of hours we bought clothes, food and sundry items and I haven't got a clue how much it all cost but hey, I didn't really care either, I just love the atmosphere.
Then, if you got tired of haggling, you could walk 50 metres away to the edge of the cliff and enjoy some of the finest views in Sicily.
What to buy: Clothing was cheap. I am assured of this by my partner who bought more than I did and is a better adviser in such matters.
Having said that the fruit was delicious, especially the tomoatoes that were simply the finest I have ever tasted.
What to pay: How much can you expect to spend - depends how much you're prepared to haggle!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
everywhere: Aeolian Islands: malvasia wine
The sweet dessert wine malvasia is sold in every shop: from souvenir shop (in fancy bottles) to supermarkets (in less fancy but significantly cheaper bottles).
Guy the Maupassant described this way: it tastes like sulphur's syrup: it's the true volcano's wine: thick, sweet, golden, and with a light sulphuric taste that will stay with you for long. A real devil's wine.
What to buy: Malvasia wine: delicious with biscuits or desserts. (you are supposed to dip the bisciuts in the wine)
What to pay: about 10 euros
Stefano ceramiche: Lipari: wonderful ceramics and vases
It's a tiny shop of a local gifted artist: he makes wonderful ceramics and then paints them in bright colours and geometrical designs. There are many shops selling ceramics all over Lipari, but Stefano's the best one of the lot
What to buy: artistically hand-painted vases, plates and ashtrays
What to pay: about 8 euros for an ashtray, and 15 for a little vase
Coralli e Preziosi (Graffeo & damiano): Coral art
In this jewellery, it is possible to order all kinds of creation in caral, for a good price: rings, bracelets, collars...
What to pay: the prices vary according to the sizes, for a little ring : 60$
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