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The Arancino vs. Arancina Debate: Unraveling the Sicilian Culinary Enigma

Whether you call it “arancino” or “arancina,” there’s no doubt it’s a succulent and irresistible delight. Even when it comes to the preparation of the traditional Sicilian rice timbale, there’s little room for doubt.

But when it comes to the shape, and most importantly, the name, an ongoing debate has persisted. So much so that even the Accademia della Crusca stepped in to try to settle the dispute. Is there a difference between arancino and arancina?

The difference between “arancino” and “arancina” lies not in the substance, but in the shape and, of course, the name.

Generally, it’s referred to as “arancina” in Palermo and the western part of Sicily. Meanwhile, it’s called “arancino,” in the masculine form, in Catania and the eastern area of the island.

The Palermitan arancina is round like an orange. On the other hand, the arancino in Catania usually has a more pointed shape, perhaps inspired by the silhouette of Mount Etna (with the exception of certain areas in Ragusa and Syracuse).

Read also: A Weekend in Palermo, the Rebirth of a City: Discovering the Latest Trends (Including at the Table)

Arancina or arancino? The Opinion of the Accademia della Crusca

To (attempt to) resolve the controversy between Palermo and Catania, between “arancina” and “arancino,” the Accademia della Crusca has weighed in. Beyond any local pride, it has provided a purely linguistic perspective on the matter.

In summary, it says: “The flavorful Sicilian rice timbale owes its name to the resemblance with the round and golden fruit of the orange tree, namely the orange. Therefore, one could conclude that the correct gender is feminine: arancina. But it’s not that simple.”

The long-standing dispute that divides the two opposite ends of the island cannot be reduced to a few lines. In fact, there’s much more to say.

From its origins, through the countless variations proposed based on the ingredients used for its preparation, to the correct name to give to the King of Sicilian street food, we delve deeper into this topic in our gallery (guaranteed to induce serious cravings). Keep reading…

But in the end (perhaps), you might agree with us, in harmony with all, that whether masculine or feminine, pointed or round, “palle ‘e riso” (balls of rice) are always a slice of heaven!”

Published inSicilian Cuisine

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