Sunday, June 29, 2014

"StrEat Palermo Tour": where you eat like a real Sicilian!

Typical Sicilian lunch you can have during the tour
As I often write in my blog, "it's all about food here in Palermo". A very important part of our cuisine has poor origins and it's easily categorised as "street food".
For centuries, us Palermitan people have been eating our specialties in the corner of a busy street or standing in front of a peddler frying panelle straight away. That's normal for us. One thing we like to do as much as eating food is talking about food. Where is the best pane e panelle? Did you like the arancina from that place? Have you tried that pane ca' meusa? We love to discuss about our favourite food and the best places to find it.

Now, tourists visiting our beautiful city can have the same experience of a real Palermitan and can stop wandering in search of our traditional stuff. How? Thanks to Marco Romeo, 32 years old, white cap and red backpack and above all a passport ready for you. It is called "Passaporto del Mangione" (the pic here on the right;). It literally means the passport of a gourmet, someone who enjoys eating... using a modern term we could say: "a foodie". 

Marco, who is also a licensed tourist guide, will take you around the ancient and evocative allies of Palermo and will make you try the most renowned street food: arancine, panelle, crocchè, sfincione, spleen sandwich and obviously a glass of excellent Sicilian wine. To finish off, the last stop is for dessert: a traditional cannolo or some artisanal gelato.

Laura our photographer, Marco and me together for a memorable selfie

I had the pleasure of asking our tour guide some questions while walking with his group few days ago.
- Marco, tell us when and how you started this activity...
I started last september. I came up with this idea because before, I used to do these tours all the times when friends were coming over to visit Sicily, so after a while I realised: why don't do it as a real job? And I have to say, the response was amazing since the very beginning. I get to meet a lot of people and I don't feel like working most of the time.

A shot of Sicilian 'Zibibbo' wine
- Is it something you can live with or is it just a seasonal job?
Well, it has been quite good so far, obviously there have been some months in which I didn't work that much, like february for example, but on the whole was ok.
- Did you already know the places where you take the tourists? Yes, I did. I also love travelling myself, so I tried to think what I like to see and eat when I go abroad.
- How is the feedback of the people joining your tour? Very good. People are happy to eat traditional things but also to see some monuments or the typical open markets while walking around.
- What's your dream for the future? 
What I would love to do is keep working with tourists here in Palermo during spring and summer, and then use the other part of the year to travel, discover new places and cultures. 
I definetely want to thank Marco once again for this opportunity. I spent a lovely time with him and his tourists. Re-discovering parts of my own city with different eyes is always a pleasure and for tourists is also an amazing and unforgettable experience.
I highly recommend it to those who want to have some fun, but above all who want to see, smell and taste the real Palermo. 

Here you find his website.

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