The remote European island named one of best places in Mediterranean for food
The island of Pantellaria is a “pearl” off the coast of Sicily famed for its dates, olives and “bitter” ravioli pasta.
Reached by air or sea from the city of Trapani, Pantellaria’s seaside promenade, street markets and turquoise waters regularly draw travellers across from its larger island neighbour.
Pantellaria’s gastronomy is the product of a range of influences resulting from the different peoples who have inhabited the island over the years.
Filled with ricotta cheese and mint leaves, bitter ravioli is one of the island’s most famous dishes as well as Pantellaria pesto, a dressing blending raw tomatoes, olive oil, chilli pepper, garlic and basil.
Fish couscous, originating from Africa, is a main dish which includes vegetable and legumes.
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The traditional Easter cake cannateddro hails originally from the East while Mustazzola is an Arab puff stuffed with a mix of honey, semolina, wine, cinnamon, candied orange peel and spices.
Visitors can also enjoy “kisses” – crispy, fried waffles shaped like stars which can be stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese or flavoured with lemon zest or filled with chocolate chunks.
According to Visit Sicily, Pantellaria’s dates and olives are among the best in the whole Mediterranean but the caper is “the real star” of the island.
A geographically recognised product grown on terraces built with dry stone walls, capers are picked between May and September then preserved in sea salt.
For wine-lovers, the island offers a range of vineyards open to the public for tasting. Pantellaria’s vine saplings are grown from hollows in the ground to boost production and protect them from adverse weather.
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Pantellaria has a range of places to stay, but perhaps one of the most unique for an overnight stay is a dammuso, a- typical, lava stone built home with a domed roof.
According to Visit Sicily, they are a luxury stay in Pantelleria and can offer “incomparable” views across the island and the Mediterranean Sea.
A trek on Pantellaria is also highly recommended, with walks taking in sites such as the Arch of the Elephant, the Pantellarian equivalent of Durdle Door at Lulworth Cove.
For romantics, a trip to heart-shaped Specchio di Venere (Venus’s Mirror) is a must as it is the place where the Goddess of Love looked at her reflection before meeting the God of wine, Bacchus.
Bathers can enjoy swimming in the lake’s waters or wallow in a mud bath at one of the site’s natural pools.
The lake itself is in a natural reserve set in the crater of an extinct volcano, with waters rich in minerals said to be good for the skin.
Laghetto delle Ondine’s waters come from the Mediterranean Sea and can be found in Punta Spadillo, below the island’s lighthouse.
A natural basin fed by the waves, it is possible to bathe here even when the sea is rough with the water warm all year round, according to Visit Sicily.
Cala Tramontana, Cala Levante and Cala Levante are coves which offer stunning landscapes and are a must for swimmers.
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