Let’s find out what to eat in Messina and surroundings . As in all of Sicily, the dishes are the result of the intertwining and influence of numerous cultures and peoples who have colonized the island over the centuries. Below I have prepared a list of the typical products of Messina and surroundings, which you can try during your trip.
Pidon of Messina
The pidone from Messina is a much loved piece of diner, which you will find almost in all rotisseries or bakeries. It has the shape of a half moon and therefore looks a bit like the more famous calzone. It is prepared both in the oven and fried and there are different varieties: with escarole, tuma (typical Sicilian cheese) and anchovies or ham and cheese and so on.
The focaccia from Messina
The messinese focaccia is characterized by a very high dough that even exceeds 3 cm. It has a rectangular shape and is stuffed with tuma (typical Sicilian cheese), escarole, chopped tomatoes and anchovies. The traditional ingredients of the focaccia are therefore the same as the pidone and like the latter, you can find it in rotisseries and bakeries. It spread in the Messina area starting from the second half of the 20th century.
Let’s now discover the dishes based on the beloved pasta, which in Messina and its surroundings are very often combined with fish.
In Messina and its surroundings you can or rather you will have to try, for example, spaghetti with anchovies and breadcrumbs and penne with swordfish (caught right in the Strait of Messina) and mint.
Let’s not forget for charity fish, it would be a sacrilege, especially in Messina. Among the most typical dishes, the swordfish rolls, the peach stocco alla ghiotta, the spatula alla Messinese, the cod meatballs and the peppered mussels stand out . The seasonings vary but generally the ingredients used are for example tomatoes, capers and olives, which make the fish even tastier.
Swordfish fishing is a practice that has been handed down for generations and was described as early as the second century BC by the Greek historian Polybius . He himself, in his works, tells how he was stupid when he observed a Calabrian fisherman lurking on the rocks with a harpoon, waiting for the swordfish.
The pescestocco is nothing more than cod preserved by drying . But what is cod doing there, which is a Nordic fish caught in Norway, Sicily? Unless it is assumed that a cod got lost and made it to Sicily, the answer lies in the Normans . In fact, they dominated the island between the 11th and 12th centuries and imported its tradition. The name could derive from the Norwegian stokkfisk, which certainly does not differ much from the Italian name.
Pignolata from Messina
It is a dessert covered with two different glazes: one with chocolate and one with lemon and in the past it was mainly consumed in Messina and Reggio Calabria . It is called pignolata because the shape of the pieces of pasta at the end of preparation are reminiscent of pine cones.
In the past, glaze was not used, but honey, a tradition imported by the Arabs. Things changed later with the Spanish domination around 1500. It was in fact the Spaniards who considered the dessert too “plebeian” and asked the messinessi confectioners to use lemon and cocoa, the latter ingredient which was imported at that time from the Spanish colonies to America.
Typical Sicilian dishes
Here you find the typical Sicilian dishes that you can find all over the island.