Cata­nia

Rosa Mitchell, chef-co-owner, Rosa’s Can­teen, Mel­bourne

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Ground Rules -

I was born in Cata­nia, in Si­cily, and mi­grated to Aus­tralia when I was

seven. I had a quick trip this year for Slow Fish, a sus­tain­able seafood fes­ti­val in Genoa, then went to Si­cily for two weeks. I’d for­got­ten how much I missed see­ing Mount Etna. Now when I travel to Cata­nia I’m al­ways look­ing out for her.

The thing I love to do when I first ar­rive is visit the pro­duce mar­ket and the fish mar­ket, which is prob­a­bly one of the best in Italy. I love the thought of liv­ing and shop­ping day to day. On my last visit a fish jumped from one end of the mar­ket to the other, and the pipis and other shell­fish are still alive. We don’t see that in Aus­tralia. You’ll also find lots of of­fal, live snails, and ob­scure veg­eta­bles sold by the per­son who grew them. It’s a great at­mos­phere: noisy, busy and quite the­atri­cal.

Some of Si­cily’s best restau­rants are here, too. They’re not nec­es­sar­ily high-end, but have good hon­est food. Seafood is the spe­cialty of the area. Also seek out arancini, spaghetti alla Norma, can­noli, ge­lato – the list goes on. If you’re game, an­other food that’s a must is horse. Lots of lit­tle restau­rants in the back­streets have bar­be­cues on the foot­path. They’ll grill a piece of horse meat for you, place it in a roll, and away you go.

In Aus­tralia, I hold onto home by spend­ing time with fam­ily. Hav­ing a meal, mak­ing salami, pick­ling, or our tomato sauce day – these things are what we did in Cata­nia, and we con­tinue these tra­di­tions. They bring peo­ple to­gether.

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