A couple of days ago we decided to go to visit Davide, a young vendor in Palermo that has his truck well of Palermo's main drag. We were curious to meet him because we have being noticing that in the last 9 months this guy had a great success in Palermo, so we wanted to understand his secret!
Once we arrived, we immediately met Davide; he did not lose the chance to shake our hand in between making panini.
Davide is almost 30 years old, he has been working in the field of Palermo street food since he was 20. Even though he started to study at school to become an electrician, he had a keen eye for business and taking the example of his dad, he started to go around Palermo with his car selling "pane cunsato" and other fresh sandwiches that he prepared (facci di vecchia e panini allo sgombro). Pane cunsato literally means "dressed bread" and the main ingredients of his food were anchovies, fresh tomatoes, cacio cavallo or tuma cheese and for sure GOOD extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt and a bit of pepper.
Since the beginning he changed different trucks and recipes finding finally his true love: PANE E PANELLE!!
But guys do you know how many pane e panelle vendors there are around Palermo? Well, the number is probably similar to the the number of Pizzerie in New York City. Hundreds, if not thousands. To become as famous as he is today, he had to develop something different, for sure!
As we ate his panino we asked him his secret. He told us that everything started based on a series of conversations that Davide had with a Doctor who usually eats at his truck. In fact, usually you can find Davide around Villa Sofia Hospital so his truck is frequented by many doctors.
During the conversations between the Doctor and Davide, Davide started to learn more about ancient grains like Tumminia, Kamut and Farro flour and their good effects on the human body. Tumminia is actually a grain native to Sicily, and Davide makes 50% of all his panini with Tumminia bread. Since then, Davide decided to prepare his pane e panelle using bread made with those new (or maybe it's better to say old) kind of flours.
The result is that today Davide is considered one of the best street food vendors in the city because, besides the artisanal quality of his production (panelle, crocche, rascatura...), he also uses bread made with these wonderful grains. He also told us that coming soon is a panino for people that suffer from celiac disease.
That's an absolutely great new entry into the Palermo street food scene! It is innovation, combined with antique Sicilian-ness. So far, he is the only one doing this. Bravo Davide!
Today Davide is quite successful. When we asked him if he had anything to say about his success, he said that he has to thank God who, since the beginning of his adventure, has been near to him and driving his ideas.
What we can say about Davide? He is a great guy, with great humility and capacity. AND he makes a damn good panino.