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Petralia Sottania / Pizza in the pearl of the Madonie at Il Castello

Say goodbye to the sea for now. We are at the 5th stop of our trip in Sicily and we drove for some kilometers towards a small mountain range called Madonie.

In this part of Sicily there is a high concentration of hidden gems and extraordinary ingredients.

This is the case, for example, of Polizzi Generosa and its hazelnuts or Castelbuono and its manna, a sugary sap produced by a tree - the South European Flowering Ash -, wonderfully brought to the kitchen tables by Fiasconaro, a world known family owned business who produces panettone and uses manna in the making of mannetto and ice cream.

Petralia Sottana does not have a specific ingredient that makes it famous (even if the 'ricotta salata' is one of the best you can have) but it is a lovely and quite place dominating the Madonie area.

If you decide to spend some time in this area, make sure to have lunch at Da Salvatore, in Petralia Soprana, a real master of vegetables (and not only) and famous for its mix of starters - you will be impressed by quantity and quality!

In the evening, treat yourself with a dose of carbs at Il Castello: the pizza menu is very rich, the crust is thin but not too soft and all the pizzas are made using only local ingredients and cheeses, as ricotta salata and caciocavallo.

P.s. If you have a pizza in Sicily, do not miss the opportunity to have fried aubergines on it!

Note: caciocavallo is a cheese made with cow's milk and its name derives from the expression 'a cavallo' - in English straddling - because when it is prepared, two forms of cheese are tied together and straddled on a stick to dry.

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