There are so many spectacular aspects to a visit to Sicily, ranging from visiting ancient to savouring excellent cuisine. However, the one element that always gets a mention from my clients when they return from their Sicily holidays is the ice cream.
Gelato, as it’s known locally, is an integral part of Sicilian life (the locals even eat it for breakfast, wrapped in a delicious brioche bun). And nowhere is this more true than in the wonderful town of Taormina.
This family-friendly resort is rightfully proud of its many gelaterie. Here the humble ice cream becomes a work of art, and is appreciated on many Sicily holidays by adults and children alike.
The History of Gelato in Sicily
The prominence of gelato in Sicily is not simply due to the fact that the island shares the mainland’s passion for the frozen treat. No, in Sicily the relationship runs much deeper: in fact, it’s believed that the island was instrumental in the invention of gelato.
While scholars may dispute the origins of the sweet treat, tracing it back to ancient Rome, Egypt or Greece, the locals here believe that it was invented by ancient messengers from one of these civilisations, who journeyed to Sicily across Mount Etna.
The messengers had the idea of combining the flavours of fruits and nuts with the snow that they found on the volcano. When they arrived in Taormina and shared their discovery with the nobility of the town, it was an instant hit.
The ancient people of Taormina originally sweetened the treat with honey, and later with sugar cane. But it was thanks to a local fisherman, who invented the first gelato machine in the seventeenth century, that the ice cream became the popular treat it is today.
The Gelaterie of Taormina
The ancient heritage of gelato is something that the people of Taormina take very seriously, as can be seen by the number of excellent parlours that the resort has today.
While some destinations in the world are famous for pub crawls or bar crawls, many Sicily holidays are spent happily moving from one excellent gelateria to another.
Two of my favourite to try in Taormina are:
· Gelateria O’Sciality – This traditional gelateria, which is on the town’s main street, is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. Handmade ice creams come in a range of mouth-watering flavours, making use of the freshest local ingredients. It’s also a great place to pick up a gelato con brioche.
· Gelatomania – As the name suggests, this parlour on the Piazza Antonio Abate is crazy about all things gelato. The laidback atmosphere here, combined with the delicious flavours, makes it the perfect place to come with kids.
Take a trip to Taormina with the family and discover the wonderful landscape, history and culture of this beautiful sea-side resort.
The best part is that, with all that wonderful gelato on offer, you’ll be able to get the kids to do whatever you want them to. For example, tell them that if they explore the cultural attractions with you, you’ll reward them with the best ice cream that they’ve ever eaten (but you don’t need to mention that you’re actually dying to try some, too!)
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury Sicily holidays, as well as holidays to Bermuda, Lanzarote and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.