The cuisine of Pantelleria tells the encounter between different cultures and customs, together with the ingredients that the earth and the sea have generously given to Pantelleria people.
A simple cuisine, but rich in nuances and flavors that highlight the excellence of the many indigenous products; flavors of earth and sea , ancient tastes and found flavors, with an underlying theme: the goodness and genuineness of the Mediterranean diet.
The great hero is the caper of Pantelleria , classified as product PGI. As prince of the land, in the island it becomes prince of the table, used to flavor pasta, salads, focaccia, or turned into pâté and sauces. A sour but firm taste, a small gray-green gem containing an explosion of taste on the palate, perfect metaphor of the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean sea.
All the genuine character of the island is to be enjoyed later in the ' Pantelleria salad, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, native tomatoes, onions, sardines or anchovies, olives and the famous capers; or in the Tumma , the typical local cheese from cow's milk. And yet, a cuisine inclined to the land with bitter Ravioli , stuffed with ricotta and mint; with Sciakisciuka , hot vegetable caponata; with Cuccurummà , eggs with various vegetables or beans and peas and with vegetable soups including our lubbia, i.e. the typical beans with eyelet and renowned island lentils.
The more intimately maritime nature of the island is honored with the very fresh local fish and pasta dishes, including the cous cous , whose perfumes, aromas and flavors reveal its Arabic origin. Pasta with sea urchin or limpets give the feeling of having the sea on your palate.
Another exquisite and tempting is the desserts chapter : typical of Pantelleria are the Baci , flower-shaped fritters stuffed with ricotta; the Mustazzola , delicate candied pastry stuffed with semolina, honey or cooked wine, candied orange peel, cinnamon and other spices, which in addition to satisfying the palate, gladden the eye with their delicate forms; sweet ravioli, fragrant and delicious panzerotti stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese and cinnamon ; Easter Cannateddri , that are cookies with embedded egg; Pasticciotti , soft cakes filled with jam.
Last but not least , a good glass of Passito or Muscat of Pantelleria to accompany the end of the meal, RDO wines produced with Zibibbo grapes growing rife in the island.
A gray-green pearl, intense color, aroma, flavor, in which he captures the essence of Pantelleria: harsh and closed only in appearance, the caper gives off its best self on the table, becoming its very important element.
Between dry stone walls and terraces, the green of caper fields in the island is punctuated by the intense white of its flowers and by the colors of his buds, to be picked exactly at its birth. As the best is often enclosed in the smaller caskets, and the most tasting and finest capers are those of lesser caliber. Thus, from May to September, the caper recalls several times to itself the country people, to harvest at first light the best fruits, sprouting every 8-10 days. A uninterrupted season, which from terraces then moves in caper processing industries, for all the stages of processing and packaging which then will bring the principe of Pantelleria, PGI product, to enrich the flavor to our table.
Legend has it that, upon Venus advice, the Punic goddess Tanit pretended to be cupbearer dof the Olympus and replaced to the ambrosia of the gods, the must of the sweet grapes of Pantelleria to conquer Apollo.
Once again, the volcanic soil wrong-foots and surprises, showing again as from a harsh appearance rather generous and fragrant fruits arise. It's a dream of a night of late summer, when farmers begin to harvest the grapes of Zibibbo , whose cultivation with sapling vine had been declared World Heritage by UNESCO. A unique technique of its kind and present only in Pantelleria , which provides for the drilling of holes of about 20 cm in the levelled ground where the vines are planted. The main branch of the vine is then carefully cut to produce six branches and to form a real bush. The grapes are then harvested by hand, among rites and peasant festivities.
A recognition of the hard work and ingenuity of the islanders, who have faced this challenge of the wind by introducing this heroic agricultural practice that protects plants from incessant currents. However, the other well deserved award are those grapes that the sun and nature make grow juicy and golden, to offer a variety of grapes and Pantelleria characteristic wine products, appreciated everywhere in the world.
A tradition that began more than 1000 years ago in Capof Zebib, Africa, to arrive in the island, where the Zibibbo grapes has been cultivated for in more than 3000 hectares of fertile soil, and harvested from the end of August. The grapes are dried in the sun on drying stone racks for at least 20 days and turned over several times, manually; after pressing and fermentation of the must, here it comes the Passito di Pantelleria , delicious and intoxicating wine of meditation, such as Muscat , less alcoholic, because blended with must of not dried grapes; instead on the table the not dried and squeezed grapes turns into Zibibbo , the sweet wine with an exotic bouquet, rich in aromas and flavors that is always the protagonist of the table on 'island and represents its most intoxicating character.
the olive tree
Another element that punctuates the view of Pantelleria is the ' olive tree biancolilla , which, like vine and capers, bends to the force of the winds and grows low shot, with branches close to the ground. In the typical terraces of the island it grows a plant that every two years gives its best fruits, rather large, which give a golden-yellow oil with green highlights, considered very precious for its little acidity and unique flavor compared to other olive oils produced in Sicily.
The olive harvest , made exclusively by hand, is part of one of those very old rituals that mark the seasons of Pantelleria , and is an event, starting since mid-October, attended by everyone, youngs and adults: a time when the effort and the patient work alternating with the conviviality and the pleasure of being together.