Monday, July 10, 2017

(Virtual) Messina...Petoni Hand Pies and Coffee Granita

Across the Strait of Messina directly from the "toe of the boot" mainland Italy lies Messina.  A Port City some call "The City without a Memory" for good reason.  In December of 1908, a devastating Earthquake...then Tsunami wiped most of it along with nearly 100,000 people (a generation they say) off the face of the Earth. Most everything you see in Messina today is a reconstruction or replica of the original city. In Sicily where families thrive on tradition and history...most of  Messina's population are those who "came after" or repopulated from across the mainland and have no deep ties to it themselves.

Video Documentary RE: The Earthquake

The third largest city in also has the dubious honor of probably being The Port that introduced The Black Plague to Europe.

Short Tour of Messina

Never say the Sicilians rush into anything.  

A Great Example is the Messina Strait Bridge.

The Strait (at its narrowest) only 1.9 miles from Mainland to Messina.

The ROMANS once considered such a bridge between the island and the mainland but...then they were conquered. I guess that is a viable excuse.

Then in the 11th Century the Normans kicked the idea around, but it went nowhere.

In 1870 it would be brought up again and they decided a tunnel would be more appropriate. It was started in 1876 and never finished. Apparently, they needed time to think about it.

The bridge idea would be revisited again in the




With no results...but a LOT of planning.

In the 1990's the plans were denied final approval and shelved. WTF???????????????

In 2005 the idea came to life again. A Suspension Bridge. Huge, they said.

In 2006 a construction consortium was chosen.

On October 12th 2006- The Italian Parliament voted against it and collectively said "MEH" and the Bridge Plans were once again- shelved. 

In 2013 it would be revived again...

Then 2014...

Then 2016...promising the bridge would be ready for use in January of 2017

Do I really need to tell you what happened?

Starting to sense a PATTERN here.

One Sicilian was quick to make this comment (in a forum) when asked when the bridge would be built/finished

"I must admit, the chances for a New Italian Renaissance are about the same as for this bridge to be built."

These things take time,you know.

What's the rush?

But, bridge aside, there are two things Messina is known for

The first (that, given my aversion to anchovies, I will not be making) 


It seems every country has some version of a hand-held meat pie. This savory anchovy-ladened deep fried one is a Messina speciality. lost me at anchovies...which I have tasted and detest.

Here it is anyway... if you are a salty, oily, smelly fish aficionado...have at...

1 pack

dry active yeast

1 c
lukewarm water

1 tsp

1 Tbsp
butter (preferably unsalted)

3 c
sifted all-purpose, flour


1/4 c
olive oil

1 lb
fresh leaf spinach

1# can
peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1/2 c
chopped black olives

anchovy fillets, chopped

1/4 c
grated parmesan cheese

1/2 lb
mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

vegetable oil

1/2 lb
bacon, diced

1/2 c
diced scallions, white part only

Make dough and pat out to small circles.

Fill with well-mixed filling (I may try these sometime sans anchovies maybe add green peppers instead!) Fold over and seal with a fork.

Fry individually in deep oil until lightly browned.

Can also be baked.

Today's recipe that I must try, and a local Messina concoction and treat, Coffee Granita!  I am woefully bereft of whipped cream today, so I will have to make it again after market day.


 This can also also be made using Espresso!

Coffee Granita (Caffe Messina):

2 cups strong coffee

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix coffee and sugar together and stir until sugar is completely dissolved...then add vanilla.

Pour into a shallow metal baking pan and place in freezer.

Stir every thirty minutes until slushy. About 1 and a half hours.

Transfer to a bowl and break granules with a fork until they are more uniform in consistency. 

Spoon into servings. May layer with sweet prepared whipped cream parfait style if desired and top with dark chocolate shavings or a sprig of mint. 

Serve with a spoon.


Time to try this recipe myself!

I'll just be over here waiting for that bridge to be built.

Relax...this is just a projection of what the project was suppose to look like when complete in 2011.


More anon...

Addendum:  Tah Dah!  Coffee Granita...and it is Amazing!