How I Ate My Way Around Mount Etna


Mount Etna, located in Sicily, Italy, is not only an impressive volcano but also a culinary delight. During my recent visit to the area, I had the opportunity to explore the local cuisine and indulge in a variety of delicious dishes. From traditional Sicilian delicacies to unique volcanic-inspired creations, my taste buds were in for a treat as I ate my way around Mount Etna.

Exploring Traditional Sicilian Cuisine

Sicilian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and fresh ingredients. As I ventured into the local villages surrounding Mount Etna, I discovered charming restaurants and trattorias serving up classic Sicilian dishes.

From arancini, deep-fried rice balls filled with ragu and cheese, to pasta alla Norma, a flavorful combination of pasta, eggplant, tomato sauce, and ricotta salata, each bite was a delight. I also couldn’t resist trying the famous Sicilian cannoli, crispy pastry tubes filled with sweet ricotta cream and garnished with pistachios or chocolate chips.

Wine Tasting in the Vineyards

Mount Etna’s volcanic soil provides the perfect conditions for vineyards, and the region is renowned for its exceptional wines. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go wine tasting and explore the local vineyards.

While sipping on glasses of Etna Rosso, a red wine made from the Nerello Mascalese grape, I enjoyed breathtaking views of the vineyards stretching across the slopes of the volcano. The combination of volcanic minerals and the mountain’s unique microclimate gives the wines a distinct character, making each sip a true pleasure.

Volcanic-Inspired Gastronomy

One of the highlights of my culinary adventure was experiencing the volcanic-inspired gastronomy around Mount Etna. Several restaurants in the area embrace the volcanic theme and incorporate ingredients and cooking techniques that reflect the volcanic landscape.

I had the opportunity to try dishes like lava stone-grilled meats and seafood, cooked using the heat of real volcanic stones. The intense heat seared the food to perfection, creating a unique smoky flavor. I also savored dishes made with locally sourced black lava salt, which added a distinctive touch to the flavors.

Indulging in Local Street Food

Exploring the streets of Catania, a bustling city at the base of Mount Etna, I discovered a vibrant street food scene that satisfied my cravings between meals. Stalls and food trucks lined the streets, offering a variety of mouthwatering snacks.

I couldn’t resist trying the famous arancini, but I also sampled other Sicilian street food staples like panelle (chickpea fritters), sfincione (Sicilian-style pizza), and granita (a refreshing semi-frozen dessert). The combination of flavors, textures, and aromas made each bite a culinary adventure.


Eating my way around Mount Etna was an unforgettable experience. From the traditional Sicilian cuisine to the volcanic-inspired gastronomy, and the delightful street food, every meal was a celebration of Sicilian flavors. If you ever find yourself near Mount Etna, make sure to embark on your own culinary journey and savor the delicious offerings this unique region has to offer.

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