The Land and its Flavours
Twelve cities. A Hundred Specialties
The twelve lands. It is perhaps excessive as a definition, elsewhere borrowed, but it makes a sense of the several faces of the province of Ragusa. A territory that offers a variety of landscapes, cultures, even old rivalries among its cities, once giving place to bitter fights, today just a subject of parochial teasing.
By associating and reinforcing the heritage of food specialties, the local cookery has eventually succeed in drawing benefit from that eterogeneity.
In the mountain areas, like Monterosso, Chiaramonte and Giarratana, where the rigid climate has nearly compelled a fatter cooking, the pork meat is the “star” of all the second courses, almost replacing all the other types of meat.
Chiaramonte Gulfi is particularly renowned for the pork chops, the “salsicce” (sausage), the “gelatina” (aspic) and the traditional “suzu”, trotters of pork and veal, pork rind and boiled beef, pressed and seasoned with vinegar, red pepper, bay leaves and lemon.
The “gelatina” is broth of pork (trotter, head and rind) seasoned with bay leaves, black pepper, vinegar and lemon, then made rest and harden. The bay, the fat and the pepper, so come up, are easily taken out.
In Chiaramonte, Comiso and Frigintini’s areas, this last hamlet of Modica, are cultivated the olives used to produce one of the best renowned Italian extra vergine olive oils: the “Monti Iblei DOP”.
By Ragusa the food specialties are subject to changes.
Best-known are the “cunigghiu alla partuisa”, rabbit seasoned with chick peas cooked in pork meat and the “maccu”, soup of mashed beans.
Among the first courses are worth-mentioning:
the hand made “cavatieddi” (gnocchi), the “ravioli di ricotta” with pork meat sauce, and the “lolli ‘cche favi” (hand-made sorts of gnocchi with broad beans).
For Easter the “’mpanata c’agnieddu” (sort of lamb pie) is a must-eat.
In Modica you find the renowned “pastieri”, small pies of lamb and kid meat, with pepper, cheese and eggs, and the “scacce” (local focacce).
But Modica is specially renowned for the traditional confectionery and sweet specialties, like the “’mpanatigghie”, sorts of ravioli stuffed with chocolate, almonds, minced beef, cinnamon and various spices; the “affucaparrinu” (“hang the parson”) and the “nucatoli”, traditional biscotti; the famous “cioccolatta ‘i casa”, chocolate hand-made after an ancient Aztec recipe.
Within the “Museo Ibleo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari” (Iblean Museum for the Popular Arts and Traditions), in Ragusa, dedicated to Serafino Amabile Guastella, 19th century writer of Chiaramonte, the old shop of the “cosaruciaru” (the craft confectioner) was replicated, to be distinguished from the “casaruciaru” who once used to stop and make biscotti directly at people’s home, for occasional events or feasts.
Another typical specialty of the province is the cheese.
The hills between Ragusa and Modica have plenty of “masserie”, the typical farms where one can taste, even just produced, fresh ricotta, pecorino and the “caciocavallo ragusano”, the most traditional and renowned type of cheese in this land, of which we have specifically reported in this same section.
Santa Croce Camerina is famous for the “Cene di S. Giuseppe” (Saint Joseph’s suppers), elsewhere reported in the section (page 12).
Pozzallo, the only coastal municipality in the province, is obviously famous for the fish dishes. Two tuna recipes are best famous:
Tuna fried with oregano and soup of tuna with onion, tomato and courgette.
Vittoria and Scicli, whose plain lands are rich of huge cultivations of vegetables, are famous for specialties adopting tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and courgettes.