So far, during my travels, I have not said no to trying any new foods that I come across. Among some of the more bizarre things I’ve tried include carne di cavallo (horse meat) panino, sheep intestines, chicken hearts and rabbit liver.
Horse meat panino was discovered on my trip to Catania, where it, along with the Cannolo, is a speciality. In Catania, there is one particular street where whichever way you turn, you can buy horse meat. I couldn’t believe it! It was lined with restaurants and every where you turn the name of the game is horse. Fortunate to have the benefit of local knowledge, I was taken to a tiny, hidden hole in the wall where it was “better”. When it came to food, everything my relatives did, it was because it tastes better this way (see post Everything is better down south. The glorious Sicily).
My parents have always said that if you’re going to do something, you should do it properly. Well I definitely ate horse meat properly. By that I mean that there was no cushioning the fact that it was horse meat. After a drive through small, cobbled stone streets and parking on the street, where I learned that after a certain time of night you have to give some money to ‘parking attendants’. These ‘parking attendants’ were not legal council workers but organised groups who would key the car if you didn’t pay up.
We entered into the hole in the wall (about 3m wide) to the left there was the butchering table. A big horse hind leg hanging from the roof, and a large friendly butcher slicing up the meat. On the wall there were pictures of horses in fields of green, and dead centre, clearly the pride and joy of all the photos, a black and white picture of who I assume are the owners chowing down on what could only be horse meat panini. It was all a bit much (and I usually am a solid carnivore). After we paid and walked, again, past the butchers table, we had to wait on the street as each panino was freshly made and handed to you from another hole in the wall. Thankfully my hunger was abated while I was entertained by crazy, vocal drivers.
How was it? Well with the herbs and spices, it was actually ok, however I think it would have tasted better if I didn’t see it being butchered. Now if this hasn’t already either driven the vegetarians away or initiated from them exclamations similar to “hypocritical meat eater” combined with rude gestures at the computer screen, this photo of the butchering table will…