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Sicily’s World of Food and Culture

Evening Program with Reception

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0375
(Photo: Ellen Silverman)

Sicily bears fascinating traces in art, architecture, and cuisine of the many civilizations that have ruled it over the centuries. In fact, a visit to the largest island in the Mediterranean is like a one-stop trip to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Food historian Francine Segan examines how a myriad of cultures including those of Greece, Rome, the Arab and Byzantine worlds, and Spain influenced the flavors of this island’s iconic dishes including caponata (sweet and sour eggplant appetizer), arancine (orange-shaped rice balls), and pasta with wild fennel, raisins, pine nuts, and sardines. With the first European port to receive sugar—an Arab introduction in the 8th century—Sicily is the source of dessert inventions such as marzipan, cannoli, and granita. The island also boasts many unusual chocolate desserts, including Mpanatigghi—weird but wonderful empanada-shaped chocolate meat pies that were bought by the Spanish.

Segan also highlights some of the most intriguing places to visit: Taormina, a lovely hilltop town on the east coast famed for its Greco-Roman theater; Piazza Amerina, site of a palatial Roman villa with exceptional mosaics that depict life in ancient Sicily;  Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes; the historic cities of Palermo, Modica, Ragusa, and Syracuse; and Sicily’s smaller islands, such as the Aeolian Islands and Pantelleria.

Afterward, enjoy a reception of Sicilian desserts and wines courtesy of Falanga Sabra Cookie Company and Washington’s Pearson’s Wine & Spirits.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)