Written by August Dao, Student, CET's Intensive Italian Language and Culture Studies in Catania
Before Italy, I had never been outside the U.S. Among my scrupulous expectations of fine cuisine, cute girls, and long sandy beaches divided by coral blue sea, I did not expect the summer sun to also bring out the hearts of the Sicilian people. A cliché, I know. But if I’ve learned anything aside from intensive Italian language and the illustrious cult of hair styling, it’s that the Sicilian’s open culture of love is best expressed through the culinary arts. And at Catania, developing a massive addiction to balls — I mean arancini balls — means you’re a normal, mentally-functioning human being (I’d like to think people who dislike arancini don’t really exist, because they don’t)
Not that any written account will suffice in capturing the essence of these marvels, but I’ll give a quick description: arancini balls are golden, crispy, just simply made to be eaten. At the heart of this Sicilian delicacy contains rice coupled with Mozzarella and the most savory meat sauce (ragù) that will ever lay rest on your taste buds. Put down that heart-disease filled burger, steak, bacon, all things American, and remind yourself what actual food is supposed to taste like. Ok, I like over half those things I listed, but the point is, arancini balls are ten times better, and the reason why isn’t just the combination of culinary intellect, fresh ingredients, or a craftsman’s hand.; it’s the Sicilian culture itself.
|Freshly Made "Golden Arancini"|
The tenderness which quickly replaces the hard, golden surface from initial bite is an extension of the hearts of the Sicilians. Whether they’re locals, students, professors, bartenders, or restaurant owners, it is without a doubt that Sicilians have one of the largest capacities for love; the arancino is but just one expression of it. Once the savory taste settles, that love of friendship, of laughter, of life endures until the very last piece. A sense that’s priceless, warm, and golden to the core.