For a couple of years now at Le Cesarine – the oldest network of home cooks in Italy – customers from northern Europe in particular have been asking about the best food shops and often stocking up on raw materials that cannot be found in their own countries to take home to friends and relatives, especially if they are travelling by car.
In the past, they would take home as souvenirs as ashtrays of seashells or magnets, T-shirts, placemats and ceramics. Today, travellers focus on local delicacies.
A treat for the eyes and the palate: Anna and Sergio’s old Polleria Aresu: a wide choice of selected, unobtainable fresh meats and a beautiful marble counter that is super Instagrammable.
La bottega dello stoccafisso (The stockfish shop): from the window you can see old marble tubs where stockfish and cod are soaked and, hanging from the ceiling, dried stockfish ready to be dipped. On the other side of the premises, there is a wide choice of gastronomy with various preparations based on cod, but also vegetable pies and the legendary minestrone.
Panetteria Rosetta, run by Giovanna and her son, is a great place to shop for local artisan products: the anolini, especially for which Parma is world famous, can be frozen and prepared at home months later.
After enjoying a legendary Pepen sandwich on the premises (a tiny place in the city centre), someone ordered a few dozen, asked for them to be vacuum-packed and loaded them into the car to Cologne. The secret seems to lie in all the ingredients of the homemade stuffing.
Cummè is an old-style shop offering local wines, organic oils and artisanal preserves. No tourist leaves without a food souvenir, strictly handmade.
L’Arco de Tipici. the flowery view in front of the shop makes it particularly Instagrammable. Visitors can taste (and take home) capocollo di Martina Franca, artisan dairy products, local baked goods, vegetables in oil, vegetable creams, jams, Convertini olive oil, wines from the Cardone winery in Locorotondo, biscuits from Ceglie Messapica, rosolio and bitters from Gravina.
After a visit to the church of the Admiral (or Martorana), worthy of mention for its spectacular frescoes, elaborate mosaics and above all the impressive and majestic Christ Pantocrator, a stop at the adjacent monastery of Santa Caterina is a must. There you can find sweets and delicious fruits made with almond paste typical of Palermo.
The Bottega Alimentare del Cassaro is a reference point for all those who want to immerse themselves in the colours, flavours and smells of authentic Sicily: a real treat for the eyes and palate. 50 selected local companies offering pasta, oil, wine, jams, sauces and preserves typical of the area and unobtainable elsewhere.