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SLOW FOOD Salina Isola Slow June 2012

June 16, 2012

Salina Slow Food 2012, held on the island of Salina, June 8-10 2012, was the ninth edition of this food and wine event sponsored by the Slow Food Chapter of Valdemone, Sicily. Salina is one of the Aeolian islands off the northeastern coast of Sicily.  Saro Gugliotta is the volunteer leader of the Valdemone Slow Food Chapter and thanks to him I was able to obtain a last minute reservation to partake in this event.  Saro did an excellent job with the help of his volunteers including his wife and two children.

Slow Food, created by Carlo Petrini, is a non- profit association with 100,000 members in 130 countries and the main concept behind the association is Good, Clean, Fair Food.

Salina enjoys a great production of capers, cucunci, and the Malvasia grape.  Capers are picked in different sizes, with the smaller ones utilized mainly for decoration and the larger ones offering a rich flavor.  Cucunci are elongated, almost looking like tiny cucumbers, and they grow out of the main pistil of the caper flower.  Malvasia grapes make a dessert wine, the color of honey.

Upon arrival the first evening of the event, four restaurants of S. Maria di Salina, A Cannata, Alfredo in Cucina, Il Delfino, and Il Gambero, offered the public four typical dishes of the Aeolian cuisine.  One dish I had never tasted and enjoyed was the Caper Pesto.  Capers are both grown and grow spontaneously on this island and many local dishes contain them.  After that, the Slow Food participants went to one of the resturants and ate the typical “Pani Cunzatu.”

On the next day, the group boarded a boat and went for a trip to visit the island of Panarea.  While navigating, of course, food could not be but the main topic. Therefore, there was a Culinary Challenge on the Boat.  Four Aeolian salads were prepared and were served as lunch.  Then, all present voted for their favorite one.

That evening, dinner was at the Rapa Nui, Salina.  Following is the menu:

Seafood Cous Cous;Eggplant balls; fresh anchovies and eggplant flan; caponatina(Sicilian sweet and sour dish containing peppers, eggplant, celery, potatoes); peppers’ involtini; pastry in form of a ship stuffed with locally caught albacore tuna and “cucunci”; fried capers; spicy spaghetti; risotto made with wild Salina herbs; lizard fish filets cooked with garlic; paddle fish served on a zucchini puree’.  Dessert was made with the Malvasia wine, typical of Salina.

On the last day, the group visited a caper field and learned about growing  capers.  Then, there was a wine and caper tasting, in which capers were served also in the form of a puree’ on toasted bread.  Then the final event!  Local chefs, Sicilian chefs, chefs from Bassano del Grappa, a prestigious chef from Vicenza, and chefs from the local Maroccan community prepared lunch for all to share in the open air.  Too many dishes to mention, but the Vicenza chef prepared Baccala’ alla Vicentina(cod) and the President of the Messina Association of Lovers of Pescestocco prepared a typical Messina salad with pescestocco(stockfish).

At the end, a tribute was made in the memory of Davide Taranto, a young local man who died in a helicopter crash two years ago.

No picture can do justice to the first hand experience!

View upon Arrival

First Evening Hors d’Ouvres

Orecchiette Salad; Caponata; Caper Pesto Penne.

Four Aeolian Salad Contest on Board the Boat

At the Capers Field an Excellent Presentation by Saro Gugliotta

Caper Plant and Flower


Only Part of the Final Food Event

Granita di Gelsi – Mulberry Ice Made Fresh Daily – Used to be Charlie’s Favorite

Tanker Delivering Water to the Island

  1. maria plumari permalink

    cara rosanna bedda l’altro giorno mi è saltato internet
    un bacio divertiti a Malta. le foto sono troppo belle ciao


  2. YES!!! It was surely a unique experience.


  3. Dave and I love reading your blog! Keep it up. The pictures and experiences are a great tour in absentia! Get your friends (or we find strangers work just fine!) to take some pictures of you in your travels. You did this early on… but not lately!!….We’re back in Charlotte for the summer (couldn’t miss the humidity and 100+ temps!! LOL)… but hope to travel more in “bessy” later this fall. We left her in CA. DEB & DAVE


    • Thank You!!!

      I miss you guys and think of you often! I hope I have the chance to visit with you in the Fall and do some catching up in person!

      I am enjoying my explorations although the “solo” part is not easy at times.

      Give those children a big hug from me.

      LOVE You All,


  4. Hey! It was great to hear from you. Wow your website is really impressive! So many pictures and such vivid descriptions! Yes, this would definitely all make for a great book. Keep up the good work.



    • Mike,
      Great to hear from you, too. I will be reading your blog regularly as you write great poetry.


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