Scorching Sicily - a road trip around the Med's biggest island

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Food - Some unmissable highlights of Sicilian cuisine

Sicilians eat late and restaurants can be full way after 10pm. To avoid the queues, either make a reservation or try heading off the beaten track. In Taormina, for example, explore the back streets off Corso Umberto and you will find quality restaurants that prosper through good food and repeat customers rather than passing trade.

Fancy a light lunch or a snack in between meals? Try a Sicilian speciality... Arancini. These are bascially fried rice balls (about the size of a tennis ball) that are usually filled with meat or tomato sauce, plus mozarella and sometimes peas. The outside is just a layer of deepfried breadcrumbs.

In Sicily, marzipan is a favourite food and is often shaped and coloured to resemble fruit. Have a taste test at one of the specialist shops that will happily let you try before you buy... and you might also be tempted to buy some nougat, another speciality made form local almonds and honey.

Bored of smoked salmon? More likely to appear on a Siclian menu is smoked swordfish... a real delicacy in Sicily and often served as very thin slices known as carpaccio.

Legend has it that ice cream originated in Sicily when snow was brought down from Mount Etna and flavoured with fruits and berries as a luxury food for the local gentry. Whatever its origins, Sicilian ice cream is a taste sensation that should not be missed.

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