From "scaccio" to the gelato di campagna: the essential street foods
Having almost disappeared during the year, "siminzari" reappear just in time for the Festino (sellers of calia and simenza, i.e. toasted pumpkin seeds, peanuts, chickpeas and broad beans), as do the sweet sellers with their colourful stalls, sprinkled with “tirruni (almonds, sugar and egg white), cubbaita (almonds and honey), muscardini (the “finger of Santa Rosalia”, made from flour, sugar and almonds), "cunfetti aghiazzati" (toasted almonds covered with a crust of red sugar) and … gelato di campagna!
First of all, it should be noted, this particular form of "ice cream" is not really icy at all: it is a soft tricolour nougat made from coloured sugar, pistachios, almonds and vanilla.
It features the colours of the Italian flag, and legend has it that it was born with the Arabs and survived hidden away in the convents, brought out only when Garibaldi entered the city in 1860 by the Ilardo ice cream parlour (still in operation in the Marina, the only one still making scorzonera and cinnamon ice cream).
It is the highlight displayed on all the "turrunara" stalls, though nowadays it is only really popular with seniors!