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Catania Guide Italy

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking

The tasty Catania cuisine offers a range of typical local delicacies that are often found throughout Sicily. Our journey can begin by discovering the Catania tastes with a famous dish: Pasta alla Norma. This is a pasta first course, usually with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, basil and lots of salty ricotta cheese. The name given to this recipe was in honor of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, who came from Catania and who wrote the opera “Norma”, which opened the Massimo Bellini Theater in 1890.
There are also arancini di riso, (rice balls) one of the most common recipes used in delicatessens, fried food shops and food shops that offer them in a thousand varieties, mostly enriched with minced meat, and sometimes with mushrooms and pistachio nuts. Catania’s “arancini” are different to the ones made in other Sicilian cities as they are long, cone-shaped and not round.
Another snack that you can always find in the fried food shops, and also in many restaurants in Catania, are crespelle: soft fritters full of ricotta cheese or anchovies.
“Scacciate” are another local recipe. These are bread-dough pies, filled with local cheeses such as “tuma”, anchovies and different type of vegetables.
The kiosks spread out around the city offer special local drinks such as lemon seltzer, made with squeezed lemon, seltzer and salt, and tamarind with lemon and bicarbonate of soda, that is a real aid for the digestion.
Fish-based recipes include marinated “mascolini”, fresh anchovies marinated for at least 24 hours in extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and “pasta con i mascolini”, pasta with fried anchovies, onion, peas and wild fennel.
Cakes and desserts, one of the strong points of Sicilian cuisine are also a high point in Catania, where you can find the best cannoli di ricotta, made with crunchy pastry filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate flakes or candied fruit.
Olivette di Sant’Agata, cakes with green almond paste made for the traditional festival of Sant’Agata are another Catania delicacy. These little cakes are linked to an ancient legend that tells the story of the city’s patron saint, pursued by Roman soldiers, who stopped running to tie her shoe and just at that moment, a huge wild olive tree grew in front of her that hid her from her pursuers, and offered her olives to eat. There are also the famous granitas in Catania, crushed ice drinks flavored with almonds, lemon, coffee, or chocolate, and served with hand-whipped cream.
Local wines include the DOC red wines that come from the foot of Mount Etna.

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