Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fruits of Etna

It's not just through its dramatic omnipresence and black lava stone that magnificent Etna has an impact on the lives of locals. The particular climate it endows upon the surroundings are perfectly suited to producing prime varieties of vitamin and mineral-rich fruits.

If you look carefully at the central box in the photo, taken at Catania market on the last Saturday in November, you'll see the words Frutta dell'Etna. The fichi d'India, (anglicised as prickly pears rather than Indian figs) it houses, are an eastern Sicilian delicacy.

Related to the cactus family, they need to be peeled - and handled - with care, prior to being enjoyed. Available in a range of hues, some prize the white-fleshed variety above the peachier-toned examples. I relished every mouthful of the deep pinky-plum fruit I devoured.

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