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The Food of Sicily

Cheese - ready to go

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In the hinterland behind the Sicilian Eastern coast lies a feast. It's not there everday, but certainly on Sundays it sets up shop and says to all and sundry "Come and eat me!".

Sunday is the day that tradition is displayed - food from the farm-house kitchen in all its rustic glory - the cucina povera of the people.

And they come in their droves to shop at the farmers' market, to pick up a taste that can't be had from the supermarket. The tressells are set up and loaded with bottles of preserves, the cheeses are hung from their strings, car boots are opened to reveal the greens that were picked from the local fields that morning.

And the salumi. Well! As a lover of the simple sausage, I was in raptures. They came in all sizes and mixtures, and in various states of age.

Traditional pork and beef mixtures with herbs and spices (and a good dose of fat), some ideal for eating raw as antipasto, others as additions to your favourite pasta sauce. Or try some salsiccia gently simmered and then browned in its own fat.

The offerings are very regionalised, so you'll always come across a new and different taste. Maybe that is what makes Italian food so interesting.

And its a good excuse to do some travelling - to move on to enjoy another flavor.

A favourite Sicilian pastime - take to the hills and browse through the farmers' market.

  The crowd gathers

Road signs at the crossroads where the Sunday farmers' market is held.

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