Crocche.it – the first search engine for Sicilian street food

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 Earlier this week I had a chat with Gaetano Lombardo, founder of Crocche.it – the first search engine for Sicilian street food lovers. Here’s what he told me about this brilliant foodie project, which he developed with his friends Vincenzo Puglisi (co-founder and community manager) and Sergio Petrona Baviera (PR and special projects).

What is Crocche.it?

Crocchè is a website dedicated to Palermo’s street food, which is considered one of the most delicious street foods in the world. It is first of all a tool for local people to celebrate and endorse their traditional food, but it’s also a place where people from all over the world can learn everything they need to know about Sicilian street food and where they can find it.
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When did you start it and why?

Everything started in 2013, when Forbes published the Virtual Tourist’s list of ‘World’s top 10 cities for street food’ – Palermo was ranked 5th in the world and first in Europe. We thought that could have been a great opportunity to promote our city and to encourage people from all over the world to visit Sicily and explore our cuisine. We soon realised that there wasn’t much information available on the Internet, and what was out there was terribly confusing and not reliable enough. So we started collecting as much information as possible, from the street, the library and the people working in the street food ‘industry’. We decided to make our food heritage available to anyone and give it the credit it deserved.

How can people use it and contribute?

People can simply look for a dish in our map and find out where they’re selling it, both within Sicily and abroad. Or, they can actively populate the map by adding a place and writing a review. We then verify that the information provided is correct and approve the entry. In just over a year we’ve received contributions from all over the world; Tokyo, Hawaii, Buenos Aires, New York, Sidney and many more… They’re mostly from Sicilian migrants who want to export what they are really good at and what’s in their DNA: making good food. Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 16.01.14

What is the most searched street food?

Arancina and pani ca meusa (spleen sandwich) are by far the most popular. Arancina is the most ‘international’ street food from Palermo. You can find it all over Italy and in many other countries, in all its  different variations, so people perceive it as something they’re already familiar with. Pani ca meusa, on the other end, is Palermo’s most peculiar street food and it attracts the interest of the most adventorous foodies from all over the world. http://instagram.com/p/kE1MAARbCc/?modal=true

What is your personal favourite street food and why?

Tricky question. It’s really like asking a child whom he loves more –  mum or dad? Each and every food in our tradition is a ‘piece of heart’, but ok, if I think of what I crave the most when I’m away from home, I’d  say pane e panelle. It reminds me of my childhood, when I used to eat it as a snack during my morning break at school. Those where the times when mums where not obsessed with nutritional values and calories; it was not a matter of numbers, but a matter of taste! Every time I treat myself to a pane e panelle today I take that as an act of love for my city, Palermo. http://instagram.com/p/uvYHmdxbFR/?modal=true

Check out crocche.it and find out everything you need to know about Sicilian street food  

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