In Sicilian markets like this one in Catania where we spent time with another top Sicilian chef, Carmelo Chiaramonte from the restaurant Il Cuciniere—the cook-- in Catania Carmelo orders his fruits and vegetables, like his fish, directly from the market, from suppliers who make sure he gets the best – and he knows the qualities of all this materia prima, as it’s called in Italian: This is what Carmelo calls “la stagione misteriosa” the mysterious season of fruits that mature when the weather turns cooler. In September, October, and November in Sicily a whole series of fruits start to mature only when it’s fresher. Apples and pears, but also pomegranates, sorb apples, arbutus berries, jujubes, chestnuts, walnuts—they have a very precise, late season character.

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