Italy, Travel
Comments 12

In Pictures: XIII International Cous Cous Fest in Sicily

Cous Cous Festival, Sicily

Don’t you just love the Italians? So passionate and celebrating everything, there’s a whole week dedicated to cous cous in San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily.

Cous Cous? Italy? The West Coast of Sicily faces North Africa and has some culinary influences from there, one of them is cous cous. Proper cous cous, not this instant type we have in so many places here or the soggy one that hasn’t been cooked properly and has turned you off it. This was light and fluffy cous cous, nutty and airy, with seafood as a traditional accompaniment (in Italy). Unusual too, only one other place (I believe in Tunisia) has seafood with their cous cous.

Chefs from 9 countries gathered and over 2 days we judged the preliminary rounds of dishes. The jury, 8 Italians (from a 2* Michelin chef to a food journalist from La Stampa), 1 Belgian Food Blogger that lives in and blogs from Rome, and me. Persenting were 2 food tv presenters from Italy, there was a Cous Cous Talk Show every night, labs, and it had it’s own Cous Cous Radio Show. Really! There was so much energy and buzz surrounding it, I got a real kick out of being there. And I learned a lot. It was inspiring.

Here’s some pictures to whet your appetite. Just look at the intricacy of those dishes, and they cooked them for 120 people at a time.

niamh 211

niamh 259

niamh 294

niamh 314



Cous Cous Fest


Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

Cous Cous Fest

This entry was posted in: Italy, Travel


I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.


  1. odorunara says

    I’m also jealous! I just discovered cous cous because organic Italian cous cous is imported into international food stores in Japan. I’ve made it with eggplants, shiitake, onions, and carrots (and tumeric, etc.), but I’m so interested in learning how to cook it in all sorts of different ways.

  2. I love the Moroccan style caidal tent set up on the beach. Couscous is spelled couscous in North Africa, where, of course the dish is a staple. According to my Sicilian sources, Sicilians make a dish called cuscusu, with a topping of fresh fish stew. I have included the recipe in my cookbook, Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes. In it, I give recipes for Couscous Quenelles and Couscous tamales! I wish I could sample couscous with fried calamari.

    Rigolo et interessant mais ou est le contingent marocain?

    Kitty M, author,
    Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from my Moroccan Kitchen

  3. Sicily is such a unique part of Italy as it has really acted as a bridge to Africa over the years – what a fantastic experience to get to see this cultural mixing pot first hand at the cous cous fest. Who won Niamh?

  4. I am so very jealous. As an Italian, I grew up with cous cous done the Italian way, and I have to say I agree with you when you talk about the number of poor imitations served in eateries. The pictures were stunning and I would have loved to have been there!

  5. Thank god for the Italians, you gotta love them but what’s even more amazing is that they get OTHER people involved in all their craziness! Viva Italia (and cous cous)!

  6. At first thought i was “Couscous Italy??” and then, yes, as you said, North Africa is not too far away after all.. I love coucous and the pics are saliva-inducing, miammmm! lol.

  7. Katharine says

    Hey Niamh, I couldn’t believe it when I read about CousCous fest here – I went there by accident about 6 or 7 years ago. Me and a friend were camping nearby and stumbled upon it. We got our car towed that night, to some little warehouse up in the hills and had to pay some ridiculous fine. Still, cous cous fest was ace!

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