Dining in Sicily: Nangalarruni

Our next dining stop in Sicily was in Castelbuono, a charming little town in the Madonie mountains in the North of Sicily. Even though it’s only half an hour from the sea, it is very much a mountain town and the restaurants here have meat on the menu rather than fish. The speciality of Nangalarruni are even mushrooms, which unfortunately our out of season at the moment.

Inside the restaurant is rustic with a wooden ceiling, very fitting for the medieval town. Nangalarruni has a huge wine list with wines from all over Italy and a good selection from Sicily. We are finding that Sicilian wines can be very elegant, contrary to what you might expect from such a hot climate. We picked a 2003 Noa from Cusumano, a blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine was aged perfectly and it is great that the restaurant stocks such older vintages.

As usual we picked the degustation menu, with cold antipasti, warm antipasti, primo, secondo and dolce for only 30 euros. That’s the nice thing about eating at trattorie: the whole meal including wine only set us back 100 euros.

The cold antipasti consisted of lamb prosciutto, a cold cut of the local ‘black pork’, a dry sausage of the same, and cured coppa of the same, plus three types of goat cheese: young, matured, and blue. All of these were homemade and especially the lamb prosciutto was outstanding. 9/10

The warm antipasto was a bread pie with ricotta cheese and a tomato veloute, sprinkled with Sicilian oregano (which is very fragrant). The tomato sauce paired very well with the bread pie (sformatino di panecotto sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?) and both were delicious. 9/10

Homemade pasta (shaped as gnocchetti) with a ragu of artichokes, wild asparagus, fava beans, fennel fronds and ricotta.  The portion size of the primo was perhaps a bit too large, but it was good; the flavors blended very well. 8/10

Shoulder roast of the ‘black pig’ with mushrooms and potatoes. The pork was juicy and tender with a nice flavor. The mushrooms didn’t have a lot of flavor, probably because they were out of season and thus came from the freezer. 8/10

This typical dessert from Castelbuono was some kind of pannacotta with cinnamon. Even though I have a sweet tooth, I thought it was a bit too sweet. 7/10

Again a very nice meal. Just as typically Sicilian as at Tischi Toschi, but completely different. I’d say the food as Tischi Toschi is slightly better, so I’m rating Nangalarruni a solid 8.5/10 for the food.

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