It feels as though Sicily is out to get me. My once loose skinny black jeans are now a struggle to get on. Once on, they cling to every inch of me, my now rotund middle, spilling over the tight waistband. The give has certainly gone. I no longer recognise the figure that glares back at me in the mirror. I'm thankful at least that my skin has darkened, offering a softness to my ever expanding curves. But my discomfort is overwhelming.
The problem with Sicily is, it is ever so unforgiving in regards to such issues. Every street corner beckons you into a gelateria. Dozens of delicious flavours to choose from, you feel compelled to try them all & when you get two flavours for a mere €2, well, why wouldn't you treat yourself. Soon you're having a gelato everyday. It becomes part of your routine. Gobbling down its sugary sweetness before it melts down your hand.
Then there's the smell of fresh pane, wafting into your senses as you stand people watching on your balcony of a morning. Those pesky Sicilians know only too well how to draw you in. Soon you're picking up six warm rolls for less than a few euros & running back to your kitchen. Torn off chunks, drowned in olive oil. Nothing beats that carb injection.
Talking of oil, that much prized liquid gets itself involved in every meal. Drizzled over salads & soaked into pane. Pasta happily swims in its rich goodness. A simple dish of tomatoes & mozzarella are made perfect by the addition of a splash of oil & a sprinkle of salt. If only this golden delight weren't so laden with with calories, delicious bloody calories.
I have also fallen for the many offerings of formaggio. Rounded balls of salty goodness hang in the kitchen, where I routinely sneak in & hack off slices, simply to devour where I stand. Brie & gorgonzola piled high on chunks of pane. Freshly made ricotta spooned over pasta & salads & hard cheeses grated over everything. Never have I had such passion for this dairy delight.
Of course the one thing that helps pile on the pounds more than anything is the daily dose of pasta. Whilst we Brits are satisfied with the penne & spaghetti on offer in our supermarkets, Sicilians have dozens of varieties; mezzo rigati, capellini, fusili, bavettine. A seemingly limitless choice of shapes & sizes. Each to be cooked with varying ingredients. Pasta for lunch? Sure. Pasta again for dinner? Certo! This is the Sicilian way & no one's about to quibble.
Finally, the nail in this culinary coffin, is the vino on offer at both lunch & dinner. I've never been much of a wine drinker, yet here in Sicily it seems so natural to consume a few glasses over lunch & then finish off the bottle over dinner. Rosso, bianco, it matters not, I happily drink either, whether it's the afternoon or the evening. There's no drunken haze here, like there would be in England, the pasta makes sure to absorb the excess, this is merely a complimentary part of the meal.
You see, it's a terrible daily battle here in Sicily, between embracing & enjoying the many delights on offer & attempting not to have an internal fight with oneself, when examining the extra handfuls of flesh clinging to one's thighs. It might be some time before I find a balance of conscience.