I chuckled when I read Valerie from 2 Baci in a Pinon Tree quote the well known saying that 'the further south you go, the better the coffee gets'. From her perspective in the Naples area, that saying is no doubt true. But down here in Sicily we are a long way from the amazing coffee culture of that region. Not that the coffee here is bad, just never as good as what I've sampled in Naples and possibly even Rome.
But, if you use that same line of thinking for a different food subject, that of gelato, for instance, I think I would have to shout YES! CORRECT! RIGHT ON!
Down here in Sicily I have tasted the most incredible gelato. I am sure this topic could be (and has been) hotly debated. This is a personal and subjective proclamation. And, as with most of the things I discuss here, I am no expert on the subject of gelato, I can only tell you that my taste buds have experienced the greatest delight over certain gelatos I have had the fortune of savoring here in Sicily.
One that comes to mind and that I posted on here is the pistachio flavored gelato produced in the town of Bronte. This area cultivates and sells pistachio in every conceivable form. Its pistachio gelato is packed full of creamy flavor that may be unique as it is created in the very place that is producing the main ingredient.
But the whole reason I felt the need to share my gelato point of view is the mouth watering fun had on our recent outing to one of the top gelateria of Catania, Bar Ernesto. Although I am naturally drawn to fruit flavors, I have learned from my husband and now tend to pick the flavors that are most indigenous to this area and reflect the seasonal offerings. This boils down to choosing the flavors that have the greatest potential to be made from 100% fresh and locally produced ingredients.
At Ernesto's this time of year that means our flavors of choice are ricotta (yes, as in the cheese) and the house speciality, cannella (cinnamon), with pistacchio close behind in third place. When tasting these flavors it is as if you are eating the real thing, just improved by the sweet, creamy and cold wonderfulness known as gelato. These flavors may sound strange, but I can assure you they are absolutely wonderful and absolutely Sicilian.
Given my passion for fruit flavors, I have to mention that come warmer months I will be strictly ordering fig, prickly pear and wild strawberry flavored gelato.