Monday, 28 January 2019

How to Make Italian Hot Chocolate!

Buongiorno! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. The days are definitely getting longer and brighter here but the frost is showing up daily to remind us that we are still in the middle of winter! Over the weekend, my family and I made some delicious hot chocolate and I promised our lovely Sicilian Connections Facebook members that I would share the recipe.

You may be wondering what the difference is between a hot chocolate drink in Italy and one, for example, in the USA or UK and I can tell you that when I first tasted a 'cioccolata calda' in Sicily I fell in love with its rich consistency and indulgent taste. 

We lived in Milan for a while before we had our daughters and the winters in Northern Italy can be so cold! I remember sitting all huddled up in our favourite cafe with a steaming hot mug of this velvety drink and feeling so cosy and content. In Italian bars you can actually get a seemingly endless choice of hot chocolate flavours including coconut, pistacchio and chilli!

Here's the recipe to make this hot chocolate at home. 
Be sure to let us know how it goes!

Ingredients (to make 2 small cups of thick hot chocolate) -

1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of whipping cream
7 ounces of good quality cooking chocolate
1 tablespoon of sugar 
1 teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch)

1) Heat the milk, cream and sugar over a low heat and stir until it reaches simmering point.

2) Break the chocolate into the pan and whisk until all of the chocolate melts.

3) In a separate bowl combine the cornflour with a little milk then add to the pan mixture.

4) Continue to stir for approx. 3 mins until the mixture reaches the desired thickness.

5) Pour into cups and enjoy! You can also top with whipping cream but I prefer to savour the chocolate all on its own!

Have a wonderful day, amici. 

Have you joined our Facebook group yet? If not, be sure to head over to Sicilian Connections - La Piazza and join our rapidly growing community of Sicily lovers across the world!

A presto,


Sicilian Connections

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Homes on Sale for 1 Euro in Sambuca di Sicilia

When Leonardo Ciaccio, the mayor of Sambuca di Sicilia (a rural town in the Sicilian province of Agrigento) launched a new housing scheme he had no idea that it would have such an impact across the world.

The governor was simply hoping for an innovative way to repopulate this majestic city and he dreamed of enticing expatriated Sicilians back to their ancestral birthplace. Little did he know that the project would be picked up by the US news channel CNN and become viral across the internet!

In a recent article for an Agrigento website, Sr. Ciaccio told how he had spent the morning showing Japanese and American tourists around the enchanting Italian town. In fact the town has been receiving requests from across the globe, including Switzerland, Spain, France and Germany, and over ten homes have already been sold.

My interest in this event has been steadily growing but peaked yesterday when I received several emails asking me for my opinion on this interesting project. I've decided to write this article in order to help my loyal followers make an informed decision on the matter.

My 'Sicilian Ghost Story', a blog from many years ago, was actually based on Sambuca di Sicilia and you can read it here to get a better feel of the town and its unique past. However, don't let yourself be put off by the ghostly apparitions and spooky legends! This city has much to offer and its rich Arabic history has woven its way intrinsically into the magic of the town.

Sambuca di Sicilia is situated on a hilltop with views reaching as far as Mount Etna on a clear day. It is surrounded by breathtaking countryside and has rolling vineyards that take you all the way down through the resort of Menfi to the spectacular Mediterranean coastline. Just over an hour's drive will take you to the island's capital of Palermo which offers flights to the main airports across the world.

While this offer may seem too good to be true, I want to make you aware of the project's small print. In order to buy your home for one euro you must commit to spending at least 15,000 euro over the next 3 years on the property's restoration and also put down a deposit of 5,000 euro.

Therefore, while the purchase will definitely cost you more then one euro, it could be the perfect way to get your foot on the Italian property ladder and allow you to revisit your 'Sicilian Connections'!

I also want to point out that Sambuca di Sicilia isn't the first Sicilian town to introduce a project of its kind. Several other cities around the island have similar schemes running and I've actually put together a short document showing you the various options so that you can make an educated decision.

The contact details for the Sambuca di Sicilia scheme are also included in this directory for you together with a list of available houses!

>> Click here for your free guide! <<

I hope this post has helped you understand the situation better. Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have and be sure to click the 'follow' button to stay updated with the latest news from Sicilian Connections.

Have a wonderful day!

Sicilian Connections

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Felice Anno Nuovo! My New Year Stories of Mount Etna & La Befana.

Buongiorno a tutti! This is our first blog post of the year and I would like to take a moment to wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. We had such a lovely Christmas and it's been truly enjoyable to take some time out from the hustle of daily life and spend time together as a family.

If you have your own 'Sicilian Connections' or even if you've simply been following the news, you will be aware that we have also had some worrying times over the past couple of months.

Our family in Adrano and Nicolosi spent several nights out on the street after being woken from their sleep by shaking beds and moving furniture. Mount Etna has certainly been very active lately and this has caused a frightening number of earthquakes throughout the region.

The province of Catania is used to living in the shadow of the fiery mountain and my husband even laughs how he and his friends used to go and play football near the flowing lava when they were young. However, the latest tremors have definitely caused concern and even the older generations can only remember a slight quivering of the light shades many years ago; nothing compared to the violent earthquakes that have been occurring over the past few months.

We are all praying that Etna has now got rid of any lingering anger and has finally settled down for a long winter's nap!

We were very happy that La Befana made a visit to our home on the eve of the Epiphany and our daughters were so pleased with the presents she left them. Does La Befana come to your home on her broom every year? I would love to hear about your stories and traditions.

If you would like to learn more about the Italian tradition of La Befana you should hop over to my earlier blog Buon Anno Nuovo and watch the good witch herself tell her enchanting story.

I'm very excited for 2019 as we have lots of lovely things happening over the next few months. If you feel like you want to get more involved in our Sicilian Connections community then definitely watch this space (& click 'follow' for new blog notifications).

I wish you a happy day or a 'buona giornata' and look forward to speaking to you again very soon!

A presto,

Sicilian Connections