Saturday, January 17, 2015

Expo Milan 2015 and the tweet about "arancinI"

The real traditional Sicilian "Arancina alla carne"

What a storm! It's the case of the day. Seriously, since yesterday in Palermo everyone is talking about the tweet posted by the Official Expo Milan 2015. They basically tweeted a version of the arancine recipe, made in Eastern Sicily. Apparently a real catastrophe not only because they present this food stuffed with hard-boiled eggs but even worse because they call them arancinI, with the masculine genre. What a tragedy!!!

Why? What does this exactly mean? I am going to get to the point in a second.

The Arancini from Eastern Sicily tweeted by Expo Milan 2015

The most famous blog from Palermo  
Rosalio published an article about it, Street Palermo Tour wrote about it on Facebook, a friend of mine even sent me an email about it. Everyone had something to say... or better said something to complain. We only need a comment from the mayor of the capital, Leoluca Orlando and the picture will be complete!

I'll explain to you how things work, once and for all. 

Traditional Sicilian "Arancina al burro"
From our point of view, and when I say "our" I mean us Western Sicilians and "Palermitans" in particular, this comes as a real unhappy tweet because the classical arancine that you find all year around in bars are two types: alla carne (with mince meat and peas like the top pic) and al burro (ham and cheese, like the pic here on the left.)

As I always try to explain in my blog though, Sicily is a big island, we have 9 provinces and "gastronomically speaking" (please allow me this term), there are lots of differencies and versions for the same dish. In eastern Sicily they put hard-boiled eggs apparently in a lot of dishes, included the poor arancine. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr...

What else? Oh yes,... "linguistically speaking" I am warning you: this debate will never ever end. In Palermo and western Sicily we call them arancinA/arancinE, femenine, because the word comes from the way we call the fruit arancia (Engl. orange). They remind us of the oranges because they are rounded and as golden as the fruit, which are also another typical product of our beautiful land. 

The rest of Sicily stubbornly keeps calling them with the masculine arancinO/arancinI, which makes no sense. To make it worse in the last two decades the writer Andrea Camilleri and the famous tv show Inspector Montalbano, set in the southern province of Ragusa, contributed to spread the word in the masculine genre... and now the tweet from the Official Expo is doing it again. It's unhappy because it passes off that recipe as the original one, which is obviously NOT. And that's why the storm, the case, the catastrophe.

Never forget how important is food for us Sicilians!

It's vital because it's ONE of the few certainties that we have in life. We know that panelle are flat, cazzili are oval, arancine are golden rounded balls, cannoli are filled with ricotta cream. These are certainties for us. That's why I am telling you one more time: this debate will never ever end. It is just getting started!!!


  1. As a non italian I won't stop your funny "war" west vs. east. If it's what you like to spend your time with, ok.
    But I am almost sure that you know about the following about the name of the arancin*: that there is the sicilian dialect with the word for oranges that goes with the male article - aranciù. This could makes sense for you?

  2. Ah ah thank you so much for pointing that out. It could... but still doesn't convince me.
    Have a nice day!

  3. always one step ahead.

    Saluti dall'Italia,