Syracuse (or Siracusa), the city known for its white buildings and Greek architecture, was our last stop in Sicily. We had every intention of going to Palermo but our plans were spoiled when we realized that all of the trains from Syracuse to Palermo and Palermo to Rome were sold out. It was the end of August and the end of holidays for many Italians, so we really shouldn’t have been surprised. Up until this point, we’d been traveling all over Italy, buying train tickets on the day we needed them. We were nearing the date of our departing flight from Italy to Egypt, so we couldn’t be quite so flexible. At the time, we were a bit crushed about missing out on Palermo, a city that everyone raves about. But in retrospect, Syracuse was just the right place to end our Sicilian adventures.
Breakfast in Sicily
We stayed just outside the city center with a really nice Sicilian man named Sebastiano. He had a blender! I made good use of it and blended up some amazing green smoothies for breakfast, using handfuls of fresh basil (trust me, it’s soo good!), bananas and almond milk.
John isn’t really into green smoothies but enjoys a good bowl of shredded wheat with almond milk.
Vegan Cooking, Italian Style
At this point in our trip, our blog was off to a good start and Sebastiano had read a few posts and noticed our passion for eating and cooking. He insisted we cook together and show him some examples of vegan food with an Italian twist. We went to a small, local market and bought some basil, tomatoes, eggplant and figs. I chose four big, juicy figs. I’m used to buying just a small amount because they can be quite expensive in Canada. In Sicily, they’re grown locally and far less expensive it seems. After I passed my small paper bag containing four figs to the shop clerk for weighing, he said something in Italian that Sebastiano translated to….a gift to you, enjoy your stay in Sicily.
Inspired by the Vegalicious recipe for Tri-colored Pasta with Eggplant and Black Olives, we put together this pasta and vegetable dish, adding in some tomatoes and subbing the black olives of green ones. We fooled our host into thinking we could do a half descent job of cooking vegan Italian food.
Our pasta and veggie feast was enjoyed along side some garlic bread, tarallini (those pretzel type cracker things) and wine, of course.
Swimming in the Sicilian Sea
When we weren’t eating in Syracuse, we were at the sea. We were there for two nights/three days and made enough time to go swimming in four beautiful places.
OK…back to the food…
Olives & Pistachio Pesto
On our second night, after spending a long and lovely day taking a road trip to Capo Passero (the southernmost point of Sicily), the Vendicari Nature Reserve, and the city of Noto, we returned home ready to feast on more amazing Italian food. We picked up some black olives and pistachio pesto, which is an awesome take on pesto and something we should all try to recreate at home!
Another couch surfer joined us for dinner and she made simple white spaghetti pasta with the pistachio pesto sauce. This wouldn’t have been my first choice of noodle but it didn’t really matter because the pistachio flavour was amazing and could make just about anything taste fantastic.
We didn’t have any dessert with our dinner because we filled our daily sweetness quota with a platter of granita from Caffé Sicilia, a famous granita spot in Noto, Sicily. You may remember the background story on this icy treat from the blog post about my obsession with granita. This granita experience was totally different though. The granita here was more icy, kinda like a slushie you’d find at the 7/11. But the flavours were what made it special. Our tasting trio included a bowl of spicy fig, strawberry & tomato, and coffee & almond granita. Each bowl delivered on the promised flavours.
The trio was listed on the menu for €5.00 Euros ($6.76 USD) but there was some outrageous seating fee that I remember being really annoyed about.
125 Corso Vittorio Emanuele
Noto, Sicily, Italy
Last Meal in Sicily
Our last meal in Syracuse, and in Sicily, was at a touristy spot in the main square of the city center, where we were surrounded by all of the beautiful Greek architecture. Sebastiano convinced me to try another granita specialty: lemon granita with mint syrup. It turned out to be a scoop of lemon granita in a cup with sparking water, mint simple syrup and a wedge of lemon.
John and I shared our last Italian pizza and then made our way to the bus station and caught a ride back to Rome. We spent our last few days in Sermonatea before saying goodbye to Italy and Europe. Next stop: Egypt.