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Welcome to the treasures and people of Polizzi Generosa by Carmela D'Amore


Food is the primal focus for Sicilians you can hear their questions, early in the morning, while they are having an espresso, `what are we going to eat today'?

On my last visit on my annual tour to Sicily this year was inspiring, meeting the people of Polizzi Generosa, I met a hospitality that was heart felt and touched my inner Sicilian heart.

I was so inspired by this little town up in the Madonie Mountains, its about an hour and a half from Palermo. The Madonie Mountains are a feast for the human eyes they envelope each other like a hug, the mountains are like the Irish green, they are luscious and breathtaking a remedy and recipe of the Sicilian soul.

As you drive up the mountains, you feel like you are part of the clouds as the midst is slowly setting in from the afternoon day, Polizzi Generosa is a place that is as generous as its people, they welcome you and you feel like you have arrived home. It stands up on the entrance of the Madonie Mountains about 917 meters tall.

As you drive up you can feel the pride of this beautiful town here is a little information about it:

The few remaining ruins of its necropolis, the recent discovery of a few coins and other terracotta items suggest that the city existed since the Hellenistic period (third century BC). Its name would derive from Polizzi (Polis), as the historian Diodorus Siculus defined it as “a Sicilian Athens.” Others would trace the name back to the ancient Palikoi (“of Palici”) people. Polizzi obtained its still in use attribute “Generosa” (“the generous”) in 1234 from the Friedich II of Sweden who appreciated the richness of its territory. For brief periods of time Polizzi was a city-state or a free and independent territory with its own government and its renowned fair and just laws. It was also the residence of Princes and Sovereigns among whom Queen Elizabeth of Aragon, the Emperor Charles V and Queen Blanche of Navarre (Vicar of the Kingdom of Sicily). Its period of highest splendour was the Renaissance, as Polizzi became a major crossroad and an important hub for trade and travel at that time. The two royal trazzere (“local paths, ways”) were the main road links of the time between Palermo, Messina and the area of Licata. Along the two branches of the once navigable Himera river – bordered with fields of corn and wheat and overlooked by Polizzi – the “old wheat road” unfolded, of which Polizzi controlled duty and customs.

We stayed at the home of Suzanne and Gaetano Turrizzi home (it is a spectacular palazzo!) Suzanne and Gaetano live in Brisbane and have carefully to detail left a mark on this beautiful town. Their love for Polizzi and Sicily is evident as soon as you walk in their home, beautiful paintings and a feast for any lover of books! Especially finding out about Sicily and where to go!

Palazzo Notar Nicchi is known as The Sicilian house. Here is a little information about it:

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In September 2003, the Australian-Sicilian Turrisi family travelled to Sicily armed with a list of villages to look for a Sicilian house; Polizzi Generosa was on that list after reading Theresa Maggio's book "Stone Boudoir; Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily" and a short time after they arrived in Polizzi they were asking, "What is for sale?" They found Palazzo Notar Nicchi.

Palazzo Notar Nicchi was an 8 year resortation project that transformed the home into the guest house it is today.

Once the house of a local baronial family it is now the centre of a cultural tourism business, The Sicilian House. Through the restoration of the house the culture of a Sicilian stone village in the Madonie National Park was discovered.

The house was restored with a mix of Sicilian antiques and modern Italian pieces. And with its handmade terracotta floors, white walls and interconnecting rooms it retains the feel of a Sicilian palazzo in the mountains.

In 2011, it opened its doors to paying international guests.

The Sicilian House is run by Suzanne Turrisi and her daughter Eugenie and both share a passion for quiet travel and Sicily.

Local managers in Polizzi Generosa, Maria and Giuseppe (Joseph), ensure that all guests arrive to Palazzo Notar Nicchi's green front door with ease. Firstly I want you to know how I found out about this beautiful place...

Here is some information about The Sicilian House:

home Palazzo Notar Nicchi

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Let's start with the intention of this magnificent universe has in store for me to meet the 3 main pedestals of my design in coming to this place, - Polizzi Generosa. My friend Eolo Paul Bottaro - who is a Sicilian Sculpture and who restored the statue `Iside', known as the #Polizzi Project.

They found this statue in a church it is centuries old with 3 faces, one of a man, one of a woman and one of a child-boy. Many have said that it is like the stages of our own lives how we evolve. I don't want to go into saying to much about the statue as I don't know much only that it fascinated me to the point of wanting to go to Polizzi, and see it! Here is some information if you would like to know about Iside.

Eolo Paul Bottaro

Secondly, I was watching a documentary of Vincent Schiavelli, the American Actor whose grandfather was from Polizzi Generosa, he decided he wanted to go to Polizzi, he talked about the people and about the town, as if his foundations where cemented there, totally part of the place and a love for the community and the town, that enveloped me into making a decision that I would visit it. It was like an invitation from him. Unfortunately Vincent passed away in 2005 from Lung cancer and his remains are in Polizzi Generosa. Vincent also wrote cookbooks: Many beautiful things, Stories and Recipes from Polizzi Generosa and Papa Andrea's Sicilian Table.

Thirdly, I found out about The Sicilian House and contacted Suzanne to see if I could stay there. Suzanne is a gracious artistic woman who has a story of her to inspire us. Just like any one who has Sicilian roots feels a love for the land and its people a real connection that has no words to express the meaning, of community, people and family.

I decided I wanted to stay for a few days, to see why the universal force connected me to these people, and to this place. I can't tell you how beautiful `The Sicilian House is', it is a talk of the town, to me it is the heartbeat that connects travellers to discover more of what Polizzi Generosa has to offer a place to stay and discover the Madonie Mountains.

Driving up I met the caretaker Giuseppe, he was waiting for me in the town square, instantly, I felt a connection with this kindred spirit, a lovely gentleman who is a true Polizzian.

That day I got acquainted to the town and Giuseppe's wife Maria and we too felt a connection.

We ate for lunch at U Bagghiu, Via Gagliardo 3. We got seated by Andrea the owner, Santina's the cooks husband. Santina is not just a cook but a connoisseur of Polizzi Generosa food. We ate food that I had never tasted nor had my taste buds ever savoured food like this for a while. Mountain food, mushrooms, wild boar, homemade pasta, degustation of antipastos that still remain in my memory.

U Bagghiu, Polizzi Generosa - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number ...https://www.tripadvisor.com.au › ... › Polizzi Generosa › Polizzi Generosa Restaurants

Well we ate there every night while we where still there, Santina and Andrea opened up just for us!

Do yourself a favour when you visit Polizzi Generosa make an effort to have a meal at U Bagghiu. Your tastebuds will enjoy the new and old revolution of eating mountain food.

The first night I had an experience that I will never forget! My friend Eolo knows Serafino and Nino they where friends of Vincent Schiavelli, Serafino is the owner to the apartment that Vincent was living in, they met us in the town and knew that I wanted to see his apartment. Serafino is an amazing man and so is Nino true friends of Vincent who still until today are very saddened by the death of their friend.

I walked through Vincent Schiavelli's apartment and felt that their was a real sadness about the place, once was a man who had the world at his feet and everything was still there, his hats, his pipes, his books.... but then I walked into his kitchen! WOW! I wanted to cook! it felt like home!

Serafino invited my husband and me to his place, Giuseppe and Maria accompanied us and we spent the evening with Serafino, Nino and a few of their friends, hospitality is the heart and core of this town, as they are generous and hospitable. Thank you Serafino and Nino for your warm welcome to Polizzi Generosa.

If you ever come to Sicily please visit this place and spend a few days to discover the treasures she offers you.

Even the local pastry shop owner invited me into his store and we ate the local sfoggliatelle from Polizzi.

I could write a book about this place.

What I will tell you is that I was and am inspired to cook, this is my recipe from my heart to the Polizzian community and to the people.

Tesoro di Melanzane per Polizzi Generosa - The Treasures of eggplants for Polizzi Generosa

What you need:

2 large Eggplants sliced and grilled

2 cups of old bread chopped and soaked in milk

1 cup of grated Pecorino

1/2 cup of Diced parsley

1/2 cup of diced Pitted black olives and some whole

2 tablespoons of sliced capers

2 tablespoons of diced currants

2 tablespoons of Pine nuts

1 tablespoon of crushed garlic

Sicilian sea salt

Virgin Olive Oil

flour

2 eggs beaten - put sea salt, a sprinkle of parsley, a sprinkle of pecorino with this mixture

Homemade Napoli

2 flat trays

Bowl

frying pan

Method:

Drain old bread and squeeze excess milk. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix sprinkle virgin olive oil place it in a pan and heat it, take off the burner and make sure that it stays moist so keep sprinkling virgin olive oil let it cool.

On a flat surface place the grilled eggplants, when the mixture is cold, grab a spoon and put it at the very beginning of the grilled eggplant and then roll the eggplant. Make sure that you use the flat surface of the eggplant when rolling it will make it easier.

In a flat tray place the flour and then roll the eggplant into the egg mixture and then lightly flour again, place the eggplants on a tray.

Make a napoli sauce.

Fry the involtini and place them on some grease proof paper to absorb the oil before you put them into the pan of Napoli, adding the black pitted olives, parsley, garlic and cook for about 10 minutes. Add some virgin olive oil, and sprinkle grated pecorino before you serve.

This is absolutely delicious and savoury simple and yet delicate to eat. Enjoy it with loved ones, friends or strangers, remember that Serafino and Nino where strangers who cooked and invited me into their home, we broke bread and became friends. This is what represents the Heart of the Table..

See you at the table..

Carmela

Carmela D’Amore

Carmela D’Amore

Carmela D’Amore is an International Sicilian chef, the daughter and granddaughter of Sicilian migrants, with over 45 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Ambassador to Sicilian food and culture, a published International author of over 3 books, currently the executive chef of Sorrento Trattoria, an Italian Restaurant situated in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.