Rosalia’s Silver Urn

July 15 in Palermo is a day of masses, prayers, and concerts at the Cathedral in honor of Santa Rosalia. At 7PM, down il Cassaro, the Archbishop and Mayor of Palermo will lead a solemn procession featuring the silver urn containing the sacred relics of La Santuzza. With the intention to reenact the purification of…

Listen for The Chants During Il Festino

“Il festivo,” which takes place in Palermo on the evening of July 14 in honor of Santa Rosalia, is a big street party that unifies the city’s citizens through a procession that symbolically purifies the metropolis from the evils that have long afflicted it. The events of the party are a mix of folklore, religion,…

Let’s Talk Cheese: Part 5

I left off yesterday, teasing you with tuma, the first, very simple sheep’s milk cheese that is a result of this process I’ve been explaining (or at least, trying to). Cheese making continues to be a mystery to me, which is why I’ve embarked on this journey. Fresh tuma must be eaten within one or…

Let’s Talk Cheese: Part 4

An important step during the heating of the milk is stirring it. The cheese maker takes what looks like a broom (It sort of is.) and continuously stirs to break up the curdling milk (That is, for pecorino cheese, which in this scenario, is what “we are making.”). Once he (or she) is happy with…

Let’s Talk Cheese: Part 3

Once our ladies have been happily and healthfully fed, during the spring, after they’ve given birth, they give the most milk. Sheep are milked twice per day – every 12 hours, let’s say, at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. Slow food and DOP farms milk by hand. Others use machines to milk their…

Let’s Talk Cheese: Part 2

On sheep farms that are serious about producing Slow Food designated, Certified Organic, or DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta or Protected Designation of Origin) certified cheeses, they not only graze their sheep in regional fields that they know are safe for their animals, but they also serve their ladies grains and legumes that they grow on…

Let’s Talk Cheese: Part 1

Like a fine wine, cheese takes on the terroir, or the natural production environment, where it is produced. So, how does one begin to make excellent tasting cheese? It starts with the animal from where the milk that becomes the cheese comes, but first it starts from the grass and grains that the animal eats….

Give Orlando A Hand

After the opera dei pupi, be sure to stick around to see if you could join the marionette troupe. You’ll find that operating Orlando is not as easy at it looks!

Cherry Season

Sicilians eat seasonally, so from mid-May to about right now, they have been enjoying a lot of cherries (ciliegie). Don’t tell the vendor in the Mercato Antico of Siracusa, but while in Ortigia, I enjoyed a few myself! (I cannot tell a lie, really, he was right there!) When planning your trip to Sicily, find…

Bring Home Something One Of A Kind

I love my new earrings (one pair of a handful I bought or was given while in Sicily in May) featuring the leaf of the fichi d’india cactus prevalent throughout Sicily! These were hand crafted by Cathenica Boutique and although, one of a kind, others like them and more may be purchased at Triscele ALAB…