Votavota in Marina di Ragusa
From the ancient traditions of Sicilian fishermen to contemporary gourmet cuisine the step is short. Especially if you are sitting at a table of the Votavota in Marina di Ragusa. The phoenix of Sicily has risen from the ashes of an identity that was dormant here for 50 years.
The path that led the two chefs to reach the current, deep knowledge about their land is unconventional, and very adventurous; almost a hymn to van life in a food key.
It was 2019 when Giuseppe Causarano and Antonio Colombo embarked on their road tour to discover the local specialties. Their goal is not to offer only a fish-based cuisine, despite the splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea, but to recreate the history of the region through the culinary tradition of the whole territory. They drive for weeks at a time, stopping along the way to create networks with local producers. They leave nothing to chance. They collect raw materials and experiment with their dishes right there in the kitchen of the camper van. It is ‘farm to table’ in its purest sense, it could be said, for they who have driven thousands of miles, yet cook directly in the gardens of the producers. Where did this strategy take them?
At Votavota, not just a restaurant, but a journey into Sicilian culture. Now imagine being relaxed on the beach; you know, the sea breeze stimulates the appetite, and you need to put something under your teeth.
Upon entering the Votavota, you will feel that you are still there, with your feet in the sand and the sound of the waves that punctuate the passage of time. Actually, you are sitting at the table and you have total control of the situation: open kitchen, pastry space where you can see the pastry chef assemble your delicious desserts and the sea as a backdrop. The menu is evocative to say the least, with etymologies that recall the Sicilian land, but that leave that veil of mystery which encourages tasting. The introduction foretells how the experience will be: a theatrical play ready to surprise you. The à la carte menu contrasts with the tasting ones, although, perhaps, it would be more correct to call them shows. The directors Causarano and Colombo, will stage the best actors around. ‘Shaker’ opens the dances; marinated fish served with a cocktail prepared at the table. Squid and stracciatella cheese merge with a juice of Scioli’s datterini tomatoes and toasted breadcrumbs for the second act, the ‘South’. It finishes with the ‘Egg of Columbus’ the perfect end that will make you clap for enjoyment.
Perhaps you no longer know where you are, you will have your senses clouded by the ecstasy of the moment, but you will surely recognize that you have taken a culinary journey in the Sicilian land.