Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest island and is known as God’s Kitchen because of its rich volcanic soil. But it’s also said to be home to the ‘Gates of Hell’. Impoverished for centuries, conquered by just about everybody and haunted by its mafia connections, Sicilians have learned to make do with what they have.
Michelin starred chef Tony Lo Coco shows Stanley his signature dish, spaghetti alla bottarga and elevates this humble Sicilian classic to create a salty crunchy sensation.
Stanley then heads to Southern Sicily and meets artisanal winemaker Arianna Occhipinti and tries the grapes grown in the region’s unique soils.
Next, Stanley meets with Princess Stefania di Raffadali in Palermo. Her chef, Maria, is an expert in timballo, a lavish baked pie made of pasta or rice with different fillings.
Stanley then travels to Italy’s southernmost point, Lampedusa, 173 miles south of Sicily and first stop for many refugees from Africa. Here he meets sardine fisherman Beppe Billeci and his wife Rina. They cook him sardines in salsa verde and sarde a beccafico. It’s the perfect embodiment of rustic food, making the best of local produce.
You haven’t lived if you haven’t eaten Sicily’s famous pasta alla Norma. Stanley heads to Catania and visits Me Cumpari Turiddu, a Trattoria specializing in the dish. The restaurant is open all day long, reflecting its philosophy of Sicilian hospitality, where ‘the door of a close friend is always open and the food is really nice.’
Ending his Sicilian journey, theater actors Emanuela and Mimmo invite Stanley to dinner along with recent migrants, their foster son Mustafa and their friend Joy. The meal is a blend of food and spices from around the world, plantain fried in coconut oil, chicken cooked in curry and ginger and rice with peas and shrimps.