Pairing and Grilling
early prehistoric times our ancestors used fire to keep warm, for light
and for protection from wild animals; when by accident or as a result of a forest fire it was realized that
game, nuts, and roots tasted better when burnt, cooking was discovered. Soon, using leaves, stones and other
techniques a rudimental form of grilling or broiling was invented and used all over the world to present
Cooking with heat under the
grill, broiling or roasting by exposing the food to direct heat either above or below the heat, is called in
Italian grigliare or cuocere a fuoco vivo, alla brace o alla
carbonella, small pieces of charcoal.
In the United States the
barbecuing is associated with cooking over high heat and the use of various sauces; in particular in the south
of the U. S., barbecuing is a delicious and unique style of cooking, not well known in Italy, and an exceptional
gastronomic experience made of extraordinary sauces, smoke and the best meat in the world.
In Sicily grilling is well liked because
this method of cooking does not change the original taste of the food, fish or meat, and enhances its flavor:
the only sauce used is the salmoriglio sauce made with fresh olive
oil, lemon, oregano, black pepper, parsley, a light touch of garlic and salt.
This sauce when baking,
barbecuing or grilling adds aroma and prevents the food from drying out.
Grigliata mista di
mixed grilled meats is a popular and traditional fare in Sicilian cooking.
In the homes grilling is
usually done on a heavy metal grate set over a heat source. Typically in the hinterland the source of heat are
hot coals topped with a grill and sometimes a spit.
Years back in
cows were used to
work the field and were butchered when they were too old to plow the ground, resulting in a tough and muscular
meat that could be eaten boiled or chopped. This is the reason that Sicilian cuisine is loaded with meat loafs,
meat balls and stews.
Barbecued or grilled beef is
not preferred and the favorite grilled meat varies according to location, mostly pork,lamb, chicken and game.
In the Western area of
Agrigento , the
preferred meat is pork, lamb, and young wethers, u castratu. Game, pork, lamb, chicken and veal are popular in the
hinterland and in the rest of the Island
meats pair well with red wines. Every town offers a large selection of wines made from indigenous grape
varieties that are ideal accompaniments to any meat dish.
following are a few Sicilian wines, from an incredible selection:
ruby red Corvo di
made with Nero di Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Pignatello grapes, is a selected and acceptable wine for grilled
meat, roasts and young cheeses. It is dry, well balanced and rich with aroma of sour cherries; an elegant wine
with good taste and round tannins.
is made with 60%
of Nero di Avola, and a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and other grapes: it offers flavors of berries and
cherries, along with hints of spices and herbs. The alcohol content is under 12 per cent, which makes this
medium bodied red wine a pleasure to drink and an ideal companion to grilled pork, lamb, chicken and wethers.
makes a Nero di Avola recommended with grilled
meats, spicy and aged cheeses or game. It is an intensive ruby red wine, with a delicate bouquet; it is dry with
silky tannins and a long finish.
the Eastern part of Sicily, where the land has a lot of
streams and marsh, rabbits are abundant and with lamb and pork are chosen meats for grilling.
In the central zone, fowl and
small edible animals are the most favorite grilling meats; there the surroundings are ideal for hunting and game
is abundant. Pigs, lamb and chickens are
popular in the countryside where they could roam in search of fodder and supply the farmers with milk and eggs
and meat used in tasty grigliate on the open fire for special occasions.
Sicily offers many wines to pair with
is a wine produced
in the slopes of Mount
hearty wine with unique and delicate aromas, with soft accents of tannin, making it an ideal wine to pair
with strong tasting cheeses, hearty sauces, stews, sausages or grilled meats.
Etna Rosso wine is
distinguished for its rich flavor of dry fruits and spices, and for its palate of ripe red fruits, chocolate and
is produced in
small quantities at the foot of the Etna in the province of Messina, it is an elegant wine,
refreshing and tasteful.
Vittoria was produced for the first time
around the time in which the village of Vittoria was established, by blending
Frappato and Nero di Avola
and small quantities of Nerello Mascalese and Grosso Nero.
This exceptionally smooth and
balanced wine, offers aroma of ripe fruits and hints of Mediterranean herbs; it is called Cerasuolo, from “cerase”(Sicilian
for cherry) for the intense red color similar to the cherries.
Nero di Avola
wine marries well
with grilled meat, pasta in red sauces, hearty game, meat dishes or strong flavored cheeses. This medium bodied
wine is dry, robust and well balanced, it is dense in the mouth, offers an intriguing aroma of wild raspberries
and black cherries with a light spicy finish.
is a light bodied
Sicilian wine with notes of strawberry and raspberry and hints of herbs, black tea and minerals.
This smooth and silky wine
makes it an easy drinking choice to enjoy as aperitif or to pair with cheeses, salads, grilled meats or
vegetables and fish.
Merlot Sicilia- Tenuta Principi di Butera- Caltanissetta. Splendid red pomegranate
color wine with notes of cherries, cassis, and mulberries blended with the pleasant aroma of vanilla. The
taste of raspberries and spices and the light tannin on the finish, makes this soft and medium bodied wine a
good choice to match with duck, chicken, pork, pasta dishes or mixed grilled meats.