Tag: tour

The BEST street food tour in Catania, Sicily

8 September 2022

The absolute BEST Street Food Tour in Catania, Sicily

The rich history, stunning beaches, and the incredibly kind people make the Island of Sicily one of my favorite places in Italy. But what really swept me off my feet was the FOOD. 

Because of Sicily’s rich and diverse history you get one of the best melting pots that reflects in their amazing food. You can taste the different cultures and the stories they tell with each bite.

When visiting somewhere new I love to get swept away in the daily lives and adventures of the locals and, in my opinion, there is no better way to do that than a street food tour guided by a local. I love Sicilian street food, so when I decided to visit Catania, one of the biggest cities in Sicily located on the Eastern side of the Island, for the first time, I of course had to take a street food tour – the opportunity to have a local take me around the city to try THEIR favorite street food spots wasn’t one I could pass up! 

Street food tour

My friend Marco, who is Sicilian born and raised, runs the company Streaty Food Tours. They give street food tours in Sicily (Palermo & Catania), Florence, Naples, and Venice! Marco and I share the similar view that street food is the best way to understand the soul of a city, so when I decided to take this trip to Catania I reached out to him immediately. (Best decision ever!)

Please note: this post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something following a link on this page, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products and services that I use and love myself. Thanks for supporting my blog 🙂

La Peschiera, Catania, Sicily

We started out our tour in La Peschiera, the famous fish market that’s been around as long as the city of Catania has been and is commonly regarded as one of the best fish markets in all of Italy. 

**Full disclosure: it is chaotic and crazy and unapologetically gritty (wear closed-toe shoes haha), but here you’ll also find some of the best authentic seafood and street food that Catania has to offer. It’s so worth it, trust me!

olives, la peschiera, street food tour, sicily

We dove right into the tour with fresh olives, eggplant, and cloves of some of the freshest garlic I’ve ever tasted. I never thought I’d be eating cloves of garlic, but here I am, living my best life, eating cloves of garlic.

street food, catania, sicily

Being in one of the best fish markets in the country, of course we had to try the fresh seafood that Catania has to offer in the form of Frutti di Mare which is – you guessed it – a cone of fried seafood. I’m not typically a seafood person, but I surprisingly enjoyed this and didn’t feel heavy or sick after eating it. Let’s be real though, I think you could fry a shoe and it would be good. 

As we were finishing up our Frutti di Mare, our wonderful guide hustled over with a tray of what looked like sparkling water. They explained it’s the original electrolyte hydration drink of just seltzer water, lemon, and salt – Sicilians have been drinking this for centuries in order to stay hydrated in the hot climate, and to my relief I did feel much more hydrated afterward! (We can’t have a #HotGirlSummer if we are dehydrated)

As if you need more reasons to love street food tours with Streaty, the guides are so knowledgeable. The entire experience is always so much more than just a food tour – they also include bits of history and show you hidden spots around the city that you would have passed right by if you weren’t a local. 

For example, on this tour, while we were walking in between food stops, our guide took the time to point out pieces of history around us before taking us to a little, unassuming cafe nearby. 

She led us through the cafe and down a set of stairs, and then all of a sudden it opened up into a secret underground lava cave that was a result of the eruption of Mt. Etna in the 17th century that buried half the city, including the rivers running through Catania! I never would have known this spot was here without our guide. It was such a cool unexpected stop that I never expected to get on a food tour. History buffs and foodies unite! Best of both worlds with a glass of wine to top it off!

Check this out!

Lava cave, sicily

You can have lunch in a lava tube! 

Ok, let’s get back to the food tour before I get too off topic with the amazingness of this place.

We made our way over to eat one of my favorite typical Sicilian street foods, Arancini (or Arancine, depending on where in Sicily you are). Arancini is a breaded, fried rice ball filled with things like cheese and prosciutto or ragu. I frickin love it so much. Are you drooling yet? Cause I am.

arancini, sicily, catania

We also tried another fried street food called “Siciliana”, which is a type of pizza dough pocket thing that is stuffed with cheese and anchovies. I know the thought of anchovies might sound icky if you aren’t used to them being a normal part of your food culture, but they were salty, didn’t taste fishy and paired so nicely with the cheese you would never know you were eating a fish. Remember what we say “Do the sh!t that scares you!” 😉

street food in catania, sicily

We walked around a bit letting our food digest to make room for what might be my new favorite Sicilian street food. (I know I’m surprised too)

Pictured below, my lovely readers, is called “Cipollina”. It’s a pastry filled with sweet onion and I seriously could’ve eaten 10 of these! They were that good. I love aranicini and have always said it was my favorite Sicilian street food, but after trying Cipollina everything has changed.

street food in catania, sicily

Of course we couldn’t end the food tour without dessert, so we hurried over to try one of the most typical desserts from Sicily, “Minne di Sant’Agata”. It is a pastry filled with sweetened ricotta cream, covered with white icing with a cherry on top. This pastry actually has a really morbid history behind it, which our guide told us all about (again, so much more than a food tour). 

If you’re interested in learning more about the history behind this tasty little treat you can find that here.

dessert, catania, sicily

In conclusion, my dear readers…

All in all, if you’re in Sicily I HIGHLY recommend checking out Streaty Food Tours. They are simply awesome and provide such an awesome experience for tourists to not only see and enjoy the city, but to fully immerse themselves in the culture. And because I cannot recommend them enough, Marco gave me a discount code to share with all of you!

Use code “kacierose” for 5% off your Streaty Food Tour!

Book a Streaty Food Tour!

They also hold tours in Naples, Florence, and Venice, so if you are in any of these cities and want to experience Italian food the way locals do, check them out and then tag me in all of the food goodness!! 

Happy eating, friends!

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Things to do in Venice: A Self-guided Bacaro Tour

13 April 2022

Things to do in Venice:

Self-Guided Bacaro Tour

Italy has one of the richest food cultures in the world, full stop. This comes as no surprise given how the love of food is infused in every aspect of daily life – whether you’re gathering with family or taking a stroll with friends, there’s a perfect Italian cuisine moment waiting for you if you know where to look.

Additionally, enjoying local traditions is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a truly authentic Italian experience. While this can get trickier and harder to find in the most touristy cities in Italy, it’s never impossible – and Venice isn’t an exception. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the typical tourist must-do’s while still immersing yourself in the soul of the city, a self-guided Bacaro tour in Venice is an absolute must!

In this mini-guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about a Bacaro Tour – what it is, how to do it, Italian words you should know, and my personal recommendations to navigate your way through a seriously delicious dining experience.

A little note before we get going:

As I’ve mentioned before, traveling doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – there are plenty of ways to enjoy an authentic Italian experience on a budget. I’m all about traveling on a realistic budget and knowing what you should splurge on and what you can save on. 

With this in mind, I’m confident your time spent drinking, snacking, and chatting with locals on a self-guided Bacaro tour is well worth an evening in Venice. Although, I don’t think you’ll need much convincing ;).

Now – let’s dive in!

What is a Bacaro?

First thing first – what in the world is a “Bacaro”?!

A Bacaro is a type of traditional Venetian tavern where locals gather after a long day’s work to laugh, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.

It is a rich Venetian tradition passed down from generation to generation where you go from Bacaro to Bacaro (or bar to bar) to get something called “cicchetti” and “ombra.”

Think of it like a pub crawl – just earlier in the evening and filled with more local delicacies and traditions. Twist my arm.

Small by nature, these taverns give you an intimate, front-row seat to local Venetian culture and authentic, no frills cuisine.

A Plate Of Cicchetti In Italy

As I mentioned above, part of a bacaro tour is indulging in ah-mazing food.

“Cicchetti” are small Venetian snacks, such as “crostini,” which are small pieces of bread with a bunch of different toppings like fish, meat, vegetables, or “polpette” (meatballs made of meat, cheese, or fish). Is your mouth drooling yet because mine is. 

A Small Cicchetti In Someone's Hand

There’s a variety of different crostini at every bar, but one of the most famous Venetian cicchetti flavors is “baccalà mantecato” – whipped salted cod. Even if you aren’t a fish person (I’m not), you should try it. It’s surprisingly delicious!

In addition to varied Italian cuisine, no bacaro tour would be complete without the “ombra” – a small glass of red or white wine.

The best parts about a Bacaro tour

Woman Holding A Spritz On The Waterway in Venice

One of the best parts of a self-guided bacaro tour is how affordable it is. You can literally find cicchetti at almost any bar or cafe, and they usually cost anywhere from 1.50€-3€ per piece. Happy wallet AND happy stomach?! Sign me up. 

A glass of ombra (again, wine) is also very cheap due to the fact that the Veneto region where Venice is located is famous for wines. These usually range somewhere between €0.60-€2 per glass.

If you aren’t a wine fan, you can always opt for an Aperol or “Select” Spritz instead of ombra. In fact, Venice is famous for Spritz, so you shouldn’t expect to pay much more for a spritz in Venice if that’s more your speed.

Woman Enjoying A Self-Guided Bacaro Tour In Venice

Another one of the big reasons that I personally love doing a self-guided Bacaro tour is that you can go completely on your own and on your own time – you don’t need to do a guided tour to experience life as the local Venetians do. 

This means if you strike up a conversation with locals at bacaro A, you don’t have to rush off with a tour group to make it to bacaro B at a certain time. Dreams.

It’s traditional to either stand or sit outside of the bacaro and enjoy the company of others while enjoying your snacks. Or you can take it outside and walk around while you snack and head to the next bacaro.

My friend Maddy and I opted to take a gondola ride with our cicchetti and a spritz in hand. I hiiiiighly recommend adding this to your bacaro tour – yes, it’s touristy, but hey, you’re in Venice, and pairing the touristy things with the local traditions gives you the ultimate Venetian experience. 

Simple, delicious, and truly so much fun!

Where to go on your Bacaro tour

After living in Italy for a while and sampling my fair share of bacaro cuisine (it’s quite the sacrifice, I know), I’ve curated my own list of stops to guide you on your way!

As you’re creating your itinerary, consider adding these to the list:

  1. Vineria all’Amarone
  2. Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi
  3. Bacareto da Lele
  4. Osteria All’Arco
  5. Osteria Al Squero
  6. Da Sepa
  7. Do Spade

Venice’s streets and waterways are some of the most unique in the world, and experiencing the city with a yummy snack or drink in hand is always a favorite of mine.

In summary…

Travel Essentials For Going Abroad

A self-guided bacaro tour is cheap, easy, and fun. And it’s great for groups, families, couples, and solo travelers alike. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to explore Venice like a Venetian, and I always love the warm and inviting feeling of this magical city. 

If you’re looking for other top tips for navigating Italian food culture, you can find my guide to proper coffee etiquette here

And whether you’re in the beginning stages of planning a visit to Italy or already have your tickets booked, I’m always happy to answer any questions you have along the way. 

To book a call with me, simply follow this link to get some time on my calendar. And if you’re planning to city-hop while you’re in Italy, be sure to check out my blog on how to spend a day in Florence, too. 

Happy traveling! ❤️

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