The Great Debate of Sicilian Rice Balls

When you cross over from western to eastern Sicily, you’ll see some clear differences. One of the most significant is in the rice balls. Note these pictured. Some are round and the one on the top left is a cone shape, almost like a vulcano (hint, hint).

Can you guess which might be from eastern Sicily? If you guessed the cone, then you are right! Yet, the shape isn’t the only thing that makes these siblings different. They even have different names. Palermo style rice balls are called arancina/e (the word for the fruit, orange, in italian is arancia, so they use the diminutive of the feminine word.). Catania style rice balls point to the Sicilian word: aranciu, for orange, as to why they believe it should be masculine, i.e., ending in an -o in today’s Italian-speaking world.

Needless to say, the naming convention is a heated debate between the regional cultures, so be aware of what you are eating, where, and its name!

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