This fall, I attended the Fuoco Food Festival in Sicily, the coolest food festival I’ve ever been to. Founded by La Gazzetta dello Sport food and wine editor Daniele Miccione, the Fuoco Food Festival showcased the talent of 35 Italian chefs, each of whom cooked over an open fire. The chefs showed off their cooking chops using only primordial methods (spits, cast iron cauldrons, terra cotta pots, etc) to prepare dishes made from ingredients produced by local artisan producers that showcase the particular local terrain.
Needless to say, I ate so, so, so so well, and sipped some interesting wines and intriguing locally brewed artisan beers. Of course, I ate some of the Sicilan classics like arancini, cannoli and caponata, and managed to snag some lemon granita at the airport. However, the chefs’ dishes were delicious, proving that you don’t need a lot of the proverbial smoke and mirrors to put forth outstanding food…quality ingredients and lots of fire go a long way.
Pretty much everyone I know is smitten with Sicily, and I’m loathe to admit that this was my first visit to the eclectic Mediterraean island. I immediately “got it” and I wasn’t even back in Milan 24 hours when I booked a flight to Palermo (more on Palermo to come!), It’s high time I started exploring the island’s diversity, and I’m already thinking about where I want to visit next…the list seems endless and I don’t know where to stary: Catania, Taormina, Ortigia, Noto, Mount Etna, Favignana, Marsala, Pantelleria, Favignana and Cefalu, to name just a mere few. Then of course, there are all of the Aeolian Islands: Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo. This world is such a beautiful place, is it not? It never ceases to amazing me. And Sicily is just one small part of it. Sigh.
Anyhoo, I wrote about the Fuoco! Food Festival for Food Republic, and I also took over Food Republic’s Instagram account from the festival, and I wanted to share my photos below. I hope you enjoy them!
Ciao everyone! @a_signorina_in_milan here with an #FRTakeover from the @fuocofoodfestival in Buccheri, a town in Sicily’s Iblei mountains. 35 chefs from all over Italy are here, but there’s not a portable stovetop in sight…they’re all cooking over an open flame! Prepping for his famous porchetta, Giuseppe Oriti from Il Vecchio Carro agriturismo in Abruzzo roasts a Nebrodi piglet, a black breed indigenous to Sicily. #FuocoFoodFestival
Chef Mattia Angius @food_of_anarchy brought a sampling of his native Sardinia to Sicily in the form of scrumptious sumac-rubbed piglets. At first sight, my inner Game of Thrones fanatic immediately likened these to the sigil of House Bolton. #FRtakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #fuocofoodfestival in #sicily
Sheep shoulder accompanied by some brains prepared with wild fennel, garlic, pepperoncino and femminello lemon, an ancient citrus variety, from @diegorossichef of @trippamilano. Don’t flinch at the brains! Trust me, they were a palate pleaser if I ever tasted one! #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #fuocofoodfestival in #sicily
The evocative set-up of Giuseppe Zen. The chef is known for working the gastronomical equivalent of alchemy on lesser noble meat cuts at @mangiari_di_strada, his outstanding Italian street food joint in Milan. At #FuocoFoodFestival, his “Testa e Minchia” panini stuffed with calf head and genitalia meat didn’t disappoint. #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #FuocoFoodFestival in #sicily
Fritelle! Fried things make my heart sing, and these delightful fried pancakes are made from flour of russello (a Sicilan wheat grain) with calamint, fennel and oregano. From chef Sebasitano Formica of Buccheri’s Osteria U Locale. #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #FuocoFoodFestival in #sicily
Takeshi Iwai of Ristorante Ada e Augusto at @cascina_guzzafame roasted a black piglet and served it alongside pears that were cooked in an olive oil confit, beaten onions, raw olives, hazelnuts, tomato jam, honey and chili peppers. Wow, wow, wow, wow. #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #FuocoFoodFestival #sicily
Pastry chef @simone_masuzzo’s take on macallè, a traditional fried Sicilian dolce that’s filled with ricotta cream. Instead of a fryer, Masuzzo grilled the dough and topped it with a macedonia of honeyed prickly pear leaves. A perfectly balanced marriage of sweet and savory. #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #FuocoFoodFestival in #sicily
@pinocuttaia of the two-star Michelin La Madia in Licata prepared this glorious panino with just two simple items: local Palazzolo Acreide sausage, a Slow Food Presidia ingredient, and tomato mostarda. An impeccable exemplification of the less-is-more philosophy. #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #FuocoFoodFestival in #Sicily
You didn’t think I’d go to Sicily without eating a cannolo (or two!), did you? The chocolate shavings delightfully complemented the not-too-sweet, creamy ricotta filling inside these little dreams. The cannoli may be a little hard to see under all that powdered sugar, but I assure you they’re gorgeous. On that note, I’m signing off now. Thanks so much for following along, and big thanks to Food Republic for letting me take over their feed! #FRTakeover by @a_signorina_in_milan from the #fuocofoodfestival in #sicily