Sicilian food chronicles: the couscous

What is the first thing that comes into your head when you think about the words “food” and “Sicily“? Of course your mind will probably evoke local delicacies, fresh seafood, mouth-watering desserts. What you might not know and think about, though, is that Sicily is also a place where different cultures and cuisines meet and melt with each other, giving birth to unexpected combinations that will not fail to impress your taste. It is the case of Cous cous, a world-renowned dish that was brought to Sicily by the Arabic domination during the centuries, who has been adopted – and adapted – by locals, making it a traditional dish of the Western Sicily, especially in the area of Trapani, San Vito lo Capo and the Egadi Islands.

Couscous with seafruits and fish stock

Couscous with seafruits and fish stock

The Cous cous belongs to the popular culture of Sicilian gastronomy and it is considered a food heritage that local families pass from a generation to another and in many forms. In fact, travelling around the small villages of Western Sicily it is possible to find many houses built in a way that resembles the typical pots used to prepare the couscous: the pignata di cuscusu.

Enjoying couscous at the fest in San Vito Lo Capo

Enjoying couscous at the fest in San Vito Lo Capo

Anyway, to eat an authentic cous cous there is no need to time-travel and join a traditional Sicilian family during a Sunday gathering; this is because every year at the end of September, San Vito Lo Capo hosts the CousCous Fest, an international event where this traditional dish is the absolute protagonist. For an entire week, the whole town of San Vito Lo Capo becomes a melting pot of cultures, where everybody can enjoy this dish in endless versions – whether they are local family recipes, renowned chefs’ adaptations or national recipes from other countries – as well as discovering new cultures and even taking classes to learn how to prepare couscous! Also, the CousCous Fest brings along other events like music concerts, arts and crafts fairs, activities for kids.

Sight of the Zingaro natural reserve

Sight of the beach at San Vito Lo Capo

Of course San Vito Lo Capo is not known only for the CousCous Fest: nearby the town is located the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, one of the most beautiful natural reserves of Sicily with stunning beaches and rare wildlife – it would be nice to spend the daytime sunbathing at the white beaches of the reserve and conclude with a couscous in a typical restaurant.

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