10 Things To Eat In Trapani, Italy april 27, 2022 – Posted in: Italy, Travel – Tags: Food, Holiday, Italy, Restaurants, Reviews, Sicily, Trapani, Vacations, Weekend Breaks
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What should you eat and taste in Trapani?
Like everywhere else in Sicily, food also plays a big role in Trapani. However, the menu in Trapani is full of culinary surprises which you won’t find anywhere else on the island or in the rest of Italy. First and foremost, the food in Trapani is good, modest and honest food, and the presentation of it is always quite simple without any fuss – it simply doesn’t need it!
There are only a few ingredients in the Trapanese kitchen, but combined in endless imaginative combinations: the seafood in couscous and pasta, ripe tomatoes in pesto and on pizza and in and on everything, almonds and pistachios! Read about it alle right here!
10 things to eat in Trapani
1. Fish couscous
Surrounded by the sea, as Trapani is, seafood is a natural part of many dishes at the restaurants. However, the most famous dish is fish couscous, which originates from the historical ties to Tunisia, and the steaming broth in which the fish and couscous are served makes you scrape the plate completely clean with a piece of the black bread.
2. Busiate pasta with pesto alla Trapanese
Busiate pasta is eaten everywhere in Trapani and is easily recognized by the characteristic spiral shape, in which the pesto can find many hiding places! The pesto is in here the Pesto alla Trapanese, a red pesto. You probably already know the green pesto, Pesto alla Genovese, but the Trapanese variety is made from almonds and tomatoes and tastes just heavenly.
Something that becomes clear when you walk around the port of Trapani is that tuna has always formed the basis of the great riches of the area. In the old days, tuna was fished with the same technique as in the Faroe Islands, where large flocks of tuna are led into large traps and then slaughtered in what was called the Mattanza, the massacre. At the island of Favignana you can still see the large tuna factory and visit the tuna museum, Florio delle Tonnare.
Even today, tuna is an important part of both the economy here in Trapani and also the diet, and in many places in the city you can order a Tagliere de Tonnara, a cutting board with different tuna products so you can taste it all. We have written more about this in Best restaurants in Trapani, Italy.
4. Cabbucio and pizza
Trapani is filled with pizzerias where you can get a quick take-away pizza. The base has a thick crust and is full of olive oil. Most pizza places and bakeries also sell the local cabbucio, a closed pizza sandwich. The traditional recipe for cabbucio is with anchovies, rosemary and tomato slices, but the most popular variant is with ham and mozzarella cheese.
Cannoli, the crispy cake tubes, are for many the epitome of Sicily. The cannolo tube is filled with fresh ricotta cheese and the ends are sprinkled with chocolate or pistachios. It is probably the most popular dessert on the menu in Trapani, but you can also buy them in all the bakeries.
Another thing that is inextricably linked with Sicily is Arancini. The large rice balls are filled with meat, cheese or vegetables before they are breaded and deep-fried. Arancini is probably the most popular street food dish in Sicily, and you can get a quick aracina everywhere in bars and cafes. If you think you’ve seen it before under a different name, you’re right – it’s quite similar to the supplì you’re getting in Rome.
Do not despair if you eat so much that you can not make room for dessert after a meal. In Trapani there are lots of ice cream parlors with Italian ice cream, and they are open all day. Then you get hungry in the middle of the day, then just have the dessert here and now. Many ice cream parlors also has with the cannolo or a graffe on the menu, the latter being a sweet bun, but both filled with ice cream. We have eaten a lot of ice cream in Italy, but the best ice cream we got at Gelateria Gino.
8. Almonds and pistachios
Almonds play a major role throughout Sicily, with the island accounting for 80% of Italy’s almond production. The almond came from Asia to Sicily with the Greeks and is today a basic ingredient in Sicilian cuisine. As mentioned in the red pesto and especially in cakes and marzipan.
If you, like us, are more than fond of cakes, then you can look forward to a visit to Sicily! Erice in particular has preserved the old cake traditions, where in the bakery Pasticceria Maria Grammatico you can also taste the fruit Martorana, with marzipan shaped like colorful fruits.
Just as much as Sicilians love their almonds, they also love pistachios that are sprinkled on everything from cannolo to pasta. Absolutely sinful, though, is when the pistachios are made into a cream stuffed into a cornetto, the crispy croissants, or made into a Pistacie-Tiramisu!
9. Pane nero di Castelvetrano
Every meal includes a basket of bread. As in many other cities around the Mediterranean, however, in Trapani it is not bread that is so dry that you can use it as a brick. In Trapani you eat the “black” bread from Castelvetrano. The sourdough bread with the dark brown crust is sprinkled with sesame and has a soft and fluffy crumb.
10. Marsala wine
The sweet wine from the town of Marsala is a whole dessert in itself. However, it is also available in a dry and semi-dry version if you don’t have a sweet tooth. However, it’s even better in one of the many innovative cocktails that you can get throughout Western Sicily, e.g. at the bars Juparana in Marsala and Jabir in Trapani.
In general, the Sicilian wine is tasty and drinkable, both in the red and white version. Try a glass of vino locale for the food and trust that the waiter chooses the one that suits you best. If you are not into wine, a wealth of craft beers are also produced in Sicily, which you, can taste the beer bar Il Barbagianni.
More tips for your holiday in Trapani
Find a great hotel in Trapani
There are three areas you can choose to stay in when you visit Trapani: the old town, the new town and then in the medieval town of Erice. The old town is where it all happens with the shopping street Corso Vittorio Emanuele as a lively center. The new district is where the locals live in the smaller roads going in all directions from the long shopping street. Here you are also close to the best beaches. Erice is located on a mountain, making you dependent on the cable car, but in return yo have an amazing view over Trapani and the Egadi Islands.
On Booking.com you can see the hotels and holiday apartments in Trapani, and below you can also read our recommendations for Trapani. Please do your own search on Booking.com for a good hotel in Trapani right here:
Recommendations for an apartment and a hotel in Trapani
Being in Trapani for a week, whe had the time to have both a city break and a beach holiday at our time in Trapani. The first days we stayed in an apartment in the center of the old town right by Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The restaurants, harbor and sights were right below our window, and it was nice to have your own kitchen.
During the week we moved to the relatively new and really nice beach hotel Punta Tipa, where the photo is from. Trapani is not (yet) patched up with beach hotels, and in fact Punta Tipa is one of the only ones. It is located just before the best beach in Trapani (at the university) and with the most beautiful view over the city.
From the hotel there are about 10 minutes walk up to the new town and 30 minutes to Torre dell’Orologio in the old town. Trapani is an expensive city to park in, with prices from 1 euro per hour inside the city center, but Punta Tipa is with its free parking spaces a good hotel for you who is renting a car and want to use Trapani as a base to get out and see a lot of sights in the area. Read more about the hotel by clicking on the links or photo.