Cultures and ancient dominations influenced both Trapani history and cuisine
Each ingredient, cooking technique and cuisine routine reflect the ancient civilizations.
«siamo i greci e i romani
gli arabi e i tedeschi»
Jaka “C’è nu jardinu”
The song “C’è nu jardinu” (There is a garden) by the Trapani singer Jaka, says that Trapani people are the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs and the Germans.
Thanks to the Greeks, in Trapani there is the grill cooking and the use of oregano, garlic and olive.
The Rianata is the typical pizza of Trapani; its ingredients are garlic, oregano, tomato, anchovies and pecorino cheese. In each single byte people enjoy the different smells and flavours.
U maccu ri fave
u maccu ri fave, a kind of broad beans puree, has Greek origins. In the comedy “The frog” by Aristophanes, Heracles ate a broad beans puree before his feats.
The broad beans puree is included among the TAP, the Traditional Agrifood Products in Italy.
How to prepare the broad beans puree? Very simple. Cook the broad beans with onion, extra-virgin olive oil and salt until they become a puree. When the puree is cooked, add pecorino cheese or finocchietto selvatico. U maccu ri fave was a poor food; nowadays in the Sicilian tables it is served with pasta or as a gourmet dish, with octopus or shellfishes.
In Trapani the Greeks spread the cooking art while the Phoenicians were entrepreneurs and they spread the techniques of the tuna fish catching, the fishing and the salt cultivation through the basins.
Arabian people were in Trapani from the beginning of the IXth century to the XIth century; and Trapani endured its domination
The Arabs imported the cultivation of melon, nuts, citrus and jasmine.
The jasmine is a very little white flower with a unique smell and flavour; it is used to prepare the scursunera – the jasmine granita.
The Arabs indeed invented the granita; during the hottest days they refreshed themselves drinking just caught flowers or fruits infusion which they added snow to
Saying Arab domination in Trapani is the same as saying cous cous.
Before the Arabs, Trapani people used to eat the matalotta which is a fish soup. The fish cous cous – u cuscusu ri pisce – is the King of the first courses of Trapani and it was born by the fusion between the fish soup and the Maghrebi cous cous, which is prepared using durum wheat semolina.
The Trapani version dates back to the XVIth century in the fishing Ligny quarter where fishermen lived. Trapani fishermen were curious about the Maghrebi dish, cooked with durum wheat semolina and meat and vegetables; Trapani people copied the Arab version but using fish instead of the meat and the vegetables.
Fish cous cous is not just a mean dish; it is tradition; it means family and sharing the cooking moments.
Each single step of the incocciatura is passed down from a generation to another one.
The fish broth; the cous cous cooking in the cuscusera and then abbivirato, pouring with the broth; the mafaradda, a terracotta container; the kitchen is full of smells which reveal magic and the history.
Not only fish couscous! In the hinterland, there are several cous cous variants: with pork and broccoli, meat and vegetables, with escargots.
Following the Spanish domination, Trapani cuisine raised to gastronomy.
The Spanish imported the tortillas or omelets, the octopus salad, the dried tomato and the aubergines caponata
Busiate cu l’agghia
Genoa seamen went ashore in the port of Trapani. So, u pesto cu l’agghia – garlic pesto or Trapani pesto was born. Genoa people imported in Trapani their pesto prepared with garlic, basil and walnut and Trapani inhabitants gave it their own version using local products; they added tomato and the almond instead of the walnuts.
As tradition, the busiata and the gnocculi are the ideal kind of pasta for the Trapani garlic pesto.
The busiata is the typical kind of pasta of the territory.
Its origins are very ancient; in some Arab manuscripts of the Xth and XIth century, we can read about a dry pasta similar to the busiata.
There are different versions of the origin of Busiata name.
It takes its name from the buso, a knitting needles to work the cotton and the wool. Others think that the busiata takes the name from the buso that is the Mediterranean plant farmers used to tie the spike.
Trapani women put the buso on the fresh pasta shaping the classic spiral form.
From the trade between Genoa and Trapani, Erice genovesi were born. They are shortcrust pastry with cream.
There are different version of their origins. Someone says that the typical Erice pastry derives from the trade with Genoa because its shapes is similar to the sailors’ hat. The more romantic people think that the name derives from the relationship between a woman from Erice and a man from Geona.
And then there is the history. Between the 1300 and the 1500 some aristocratic families gave order to build about thirty churches in Erice for their firstborns.
As time passes many churches were donated to the nuns.
The nuns belonging to an enclosed order, the Saint Charles convent, spent their time cooking some pastries, the mustazzoli – typical biscuits -, almond pastries and the genovesi.
Mrs Maria Grammatico is the unique woman who knows the real recipe of Erice genovese. She spent her childhood in the convent and learned how to cook the pastry
‘A frutta marturana
A frutta marturana – marzipan pastry – was born in Martorana convent in Palermo.
Tradition tells that the convent had such a marvelous garden that the bishop decided to see it.
The nuns prepared some pastries using almond flour, sugar, water and natural aromas and giving them the shape of pears, oranges, lemons and other fruits which hung on the trees in the garden.
In the XVIIIth century the Bourbons took luxury and glamour in Trapani. In the noble palaces of the city, luxurious dinner took place; guests ate in silver dishes and food were served in English porcelain pots.
During such dinner, aristocratic and noble people ate soup or broth, baked fish and game; fresh fruit and dessert.
The Twentieth century
In the XXth century fish dishes were reinterpreted. Couscous with escargots or with pork and broccoli; u pisci rìovo, a rolled omelet
Each dish, starter, main dishes is cooked and dressed with the extra-virgin olive oil “Valle Trapanesi”. Since 1999 Trapani olive oil has gained the PDO -Protected Designation of Origin. The oil mills use the Cerasuola and Nocellara olive cultivar.
During the meal, lunch or dinner, people eat bread which is cooked in wood oven, and drink wine, white or red.
Trapani wine is indescribable. Local vine varieties like Sirah, Nero d’Avola, Grillo and Inzolia give life to DOC wine of Trapani territory which is known and exported all around the world.
Is your mouth watering?
Spend your next holiday in Trapani
You can reserve our apartments, provided by fully furnished kitchen where cooking and giving the own interpretation of Trapani dishes; you can also have lunch or dinner in the several typical restaurant in the heart of the city, where you enjoy the Sicilian cuisine.