Il Castello a Petralia Sottana
The delicious cuisine of the Madonie is full of tasty local specialities and typical recipes.
The old traditions of the Madonie and rhythms of nature are still respected here in the Castello di Petralia Sottana restaurant. A place that, through its structure, is rebuilt on the ruins of what used to be the Castello di Petra, with its dungeon and ancient theatre, and still preserves that medieval atmosphere; a skilfully restored, welcoming venue, whose exquisite elegance allows to exalt the local products. The young owners, Luca and Marco Calderano, are a perfect expression of the energy and the vitality of the place. Luca, 25 years old, is in charge of the kitchen, and mainly prepares the tasty special pizzas, while Marco, 28, welcomes and advises the customers.
The pizzeria restaurant is divided into three elegant rooms, as well as a small private one for couples, for a perfect candlelight dinner in what used to be an old medieval dungeon cell and today has been transformed into a wine cellar.
In Roman times, the Madonie were considered the “granary of Italy” and certainly Il Castello is the best place to try a high-quality pizza, prepared with ancient grains and artisan wisdom, always naturally leavened for 48 hours and cooked in a modern wood oven. The pizza here features carefully researched products and the use of homemade sauces and vegetables. For a good pizza, water is one of the most important ingredients and here the dough is only made with Geraci mineral water.
The menu boasts a variety of options, but the Mediterranean pizza, a contender at the world championship, is always the top choice. The special ingredients include locally produced mozzarella, bacon rolls, fresh ricotta, sage, king oyster mushroom and pachino tomatoes.
In addition to pizza, you should also try pork or lamb shank cooked in the wood oven for eight hours – the slow cooking process really enhances the flavour. The veal tagliata (a thick slice of veal which is roasted and then cut into strips) served on a bed of king oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii) or funciu di basilicu (Pleurotus nebrodensis), is also worth trying. Do not miss the Caponata (a Sicilian dish consisting of aubergines and other vegetables) and battered vegetables. There is a wide selection of wines to choose directly in the wine cellar dug into the old rock. The staff is polite and attentive to requests.