PSF: You have lived in both the countryside and city in Sicily. The first time we met you was at Case Vecchie! You were in full campagnola mode, apprenticing with your mentor Fabrizia Lanza. Do you miss it sometimes? Sicilian countryside farmer life?
LS: Yes of course! I actually go quite often. I have been in Palermo for about a month and have already spent time in Sambuca di Sicilia, Regaleali where the Tasca d'Almerita family has their winery and cooking school, and also Camporeale. With my life as a freelancer, I have flexibility to write and work from anywhere. That was part of the main plan for my move here. I am cooking less for work but enjoying it more when I can actually cook for friends. I am writing a small guide book on my own for tourists coming to Sicily, I am developing a travel program for an agency in Rome, and helping out with a few other food/wine projects with friends here. It's important to get a nice mix of city and countryside. Sicily has it all and even in January it's beautiful to sit by the seaside.
PSF: Where is your favorite place to go from Palermo for a day trip by train?
LS: Train travel here is tricky. I prefer to rent a car which is actually VERY cheap. I mean this month, since it is winter, I have found car rentals for between 6-10 euros per day.
PSF: Where do you like to go if you just go for a Sunday drive from Palermo?
LS: I love Mondello the beach town outside of Palermo and you can get there on the public bus. For a longer trip, Scopello is great in the summer or San Vito lo Capo and the Riserva dello Zingaro are top! Also the ferry to the island of Ustica is a wonderful day trip in summer from Palermo. You can go there and back just for the day.
PSF: You are in the process on perfecting your Italian and Sicilian!
LS: I love the challenge of spending time in a place that forces me to speak another language. It's amazing how fast you start to pick it up when you have no other choice.
PSF: What's the Sicilian word you use most often?
LS: Amunì! Which means, Andiamo. Which means, let's get a move on people!
PSF: What's new that's badass? Can you share one of your upcoming Sicily projects you are working on?
LS: Yes! Two things. First, I am working on a top-secret bread baking workshop with the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School. We are inviting bakers from all over the world to come for a collaborative week this fall to experiment with local flours.
PSF: Hot. Second?
LS: I am leading a week-long trip this May with the Di Giovanna Organic Winery in Sambuca di Sicilia where we will bring guests on adventures through the western side of the island. We want to give tourists a real "Life in Sicily" experience by organizing winery visits, cooking lessons, trips to see how ricotta is made and visit the sea salt pans near Marsala.
PSF: But what about the street food in Palermo!?!?
LS: Tranquillo!! That will be the next trip.
PSF: Final thoughts?
LS: Yes, check this out, I'm learning to slow down my walking because I'm so obviously a New Yorker sometimes. Sicilians take their time. Everything is on a slower pace.
PS: Meglio così!
LS: In fatti!
Known best as The Cheeky Chef, Linda Sarris splits her time between cooking for female CEOs in New York City and working as a food/travel consultant based in Palermo, Italy. She's the founder of the project SNACK Sicily. You can visit her website, here. You can also follow her on Instagram, here.