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How wonderful picciò

Porto Empedocle, Sicily, August 2021

One of the hottest summers ever, that year in Sicily it reached 49 degrees.

We were eight friends, cars rented by Maurizio's friend's friend, lots of sunshine and a mad desire to get together and have fun.

That day we were on the coast of Realmonte, near Agrigento, ready to visit the incredible natural work of art that is the Scala dei Turchi. Shaped by wind and water, we were faced with immense white steps plunging into the blue sea.

We were able to admire this white marl cliff, reflecting the light of the sun and the sea, on rented dinghies, since, to preserve it, from February 2020 it can no longer be visited on foot.

After a whole morning spent in the waves, we headed to Porto Empedocle for lunch, in a restaurant recommended to us by a local friend.

I still dream of that pasta with freshly caught sea urchins.

We reached the small restaurant, which had very few seats, and at the time it was open for lunch only. Sitting there are three grandparents enjoying their rich fish dish. They looked at us and smiled nodding - as if to say “you’ll enjoy, no doubts”.

How wonderful, picciò!

It was like eating the sea. The owner, Sergio, and his staff welcomed us the Sicilian way: with an unusual warmth, open arms and eyes full of life. Sergio told us his story and how this passion has been handed down from father to son. Each dish combines unique flavours and he pays great attention to detail, starting with the purchase of the urchins which, he told us, are bought packaged one by one in the only fishmonger's shop he trusts.

We started with a bluefin tuna tartare with mandarin marmalade, a raw fish dish and ended with a sea urchin pasta.

A lunch we will never forget and which still makes our mouths water today.

If you happen to be on the Agrigento coast, you cannot fail to stop at Sergio's for a phenomenal fish dish:

Scala dei turchi

On the boat

Italian grandfathers

Tuna tartare

Pasta with sea urchins.

Friends and Sergio

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