In tonight's programme, the last of the series, Catherine Fulvio spends the day wandering in the ancient Sicilian capital of Palermo. Early in the morning of a glorious August day she visits the colourful Mercato di Capo, just soaking up the sights and sounds that make the city so special for her. Feeling the first pangs of hunger, she visits I Cuochino, which sells delicious fast food. She watches chef Francesco Maximo preparing the best known of all Sicilian snacks, arancine, so called because they resemble small oranges. Little balls of cooked rice are carefully filled with minced beef with tomato, before they are deep fried and sold immediately to eager customers.
The deep frying immediately sends her back to the kitchen to prepare Frito Misto, a crisp and tasty mix of fish and fresh vegetables, fried in a light batter. She follows that with a dish of Tagliatelle with shrimp and courgettes and another Italian favourite for dessert, the classic Tiramasu
Back in Palermo she meets up with the family for an ice cream, and what better place could there be, to watch the world go by, than a pavement caf� in Palermo? All of human life is there, but in this sunlit square, she also gets a glimpse of the darker side of Sicily. The ancient caf� Antica Focaccaria San Francesco is a Palermo institution. The family who own this business have always refused to pay protection money to the Mafia, so they depend for their protection on the local police, who are much in evidence outside. But inside and on the more agreeable subject of food, she watches the preparation of one of the dishes for which this restaurant is truly famous. Chef Carlo Khalfaoui cuts into the focaccia bun, butters it thickly and piles it liberally with the scary looking fried spleen. On top of that goes a huge handful of grated parmesan. Having come all this way, Catherine feels she has no alternative to giving it a try, not a wholly happy experience!
Finally, in the cool of the summer evening, she is reminded that Palermo is a Mediterranean fishing port with an impressive maritime history, as she visits a fashionable restaurant in an old tonnaro or tuna fashion plant, where the award winning chef makes her a fine fish stew.