Cefalu, Finale di Polina and the christening of the BBQ

Tuesday 3 July 2012

After two nights in Palermo, soaking up the city atmosphere, we headed East, along the coast by train to Cefalu.

Pronounced Che-fal-oo, this village is perched above the sea and is the antithesis of Palermo. Winding narrow streets, small fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, and a thriving cafe culture.

We only spent a couple of hours there before hopping on a bus that was headed towards Finale di Polina and our camping base of Rais Gerbi for the next few days.

The guidebooks I read before coming to Sicily, and the locals we have spoken to along the way, have seemed incredulous that anyone would want - or be able to - back pack through Sicily and Southern Italy due to the high cost of hotels, and the apparent total lack of coherent infrastructure. I have to say I totally disagree. Yes the 40 degree heat can make it a bit tricky to lug a back pack around a city, avoiding speeding mopeds, and the trains, ferries, buses and hydrofoils are somewhat sporadic. But that makes a perfect recipe for travelling... we are having to be totally flexible with our timings, which has meant we have discovered things we would not have done had we already had transport arranged (our impromptu trip round Cefalu for example).

When we checked the directions to the campsite before we arrived in Sicily, it mentioned that our base was just a few kilometres from Cefalu. We thought that would be fine to walk However, with heavy back packs, 37 degree heat in the shade, and the fact that it was midday when we arrived, meant we decided to hop on a bus instead. It was lucky we did... 35 minutes drive later, we arrived at the campsite.

Rais Gerbis is situated just outside Finale di Polina - a small village on the sea, with the main town (Polina) perched on the towering cliffs a mile or so behind the water. We had the camping terraces virtually to ourselves and our own plot right by the waters edge. Turquoise waters, an incredible vista from our tent, a short walk to the swimming pool and the sea, plus the fact that we had our own little private paradise meant we could ignore the ants eating our ankles as we set up camp.

The view from our terrace

The campsite shop was well stocked with local Prosciutto, mozzarella, freshly baked bread and Sicilian red wine made from the local Nero D'Avola grape. After a 10 minute walk into the village we returned with vine tomatoes, a bag of ripe fragrant peaches, zucchini and a bag of fresh gnocchi. The perfect meal to christen our BBQ:

Fresh gnocchi with mozzarella, zucchini and a chargrilled tomato and Nero D'Avolo sauce...

  • 1 pack fresh gnocchi
  • half a courgette, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 ball of mozarella, diced 
  • 3 x large tomatoes, cut in half
  • splash of red wine 
To start, make sure you get your BBQ nice and hot! Char grill the courgette slices, then divide between two plates, with the diced mozzarella. Bring a pan of water to the boil and while it's heating up, place the tomatoes on the BBQ, skin side down, until they start to bubble. Turn over and grill for a further 5 minutes until soft and charred. 

Add the gnocchi to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until soft. Remove and divide between the two plates. Return the pan to the heat, add a splash of oil, the charred tomatoes and the red wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the gnocchi and eat... preferably with a glass of red and a great view. 

Next post... Catania, Pasta Norma, Mount Etna and the most incredible fish market and swordfish auction!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave me a comment - I'd love to hear from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...