Arancino or arancina?

The controversial goodness

A tourist who wants to visit Messina should be seduced by  the regional cuisine.  Whether it’s first courses, meat, fish, desserts or  street food , there is no shortage of local delights. Rustici are   a characteristic and very cheap delicacy: with three euros or a little more, you can buy two pieces and fill up without difficulty. The king of rusticini is the arancino or arancina.

These are baked goods, often fried and every Messinese has their trusted restaurateur in their heart. “ The Arena focaccia is unbeatable ”, “ the arancini from the thousand-flavoured bakery are the best ever ”, “ The fried pythons from the bakery I have near my house are the best in the whole city ”. Don’t be fooled by those who proclaim themselves  masters of street food,  the truth is that luckily  there are many really good takeaways  and around Piazza Cairoli you can try several of superb goodness.

But what should a tourist who wants to try the typical risotto made with rice and meat sauce ask for? An arancino or an arancina?

It is said arancino, with an o!

The answer to the age-old question, whether it is called arancino or arancina, exists . Sicily, and consequently Italy, is not unanimous in its response. There are those who fervently argue that arancino is strictly male, others are convinced without the slightest shadow of a doubt that the answer is unequivocally female, so it is more than legitimate to have some doubts about it.

It’s time to clarify, and what follows is the definitive and unquestionable answer.

It is said arancino, in the masculine ..

Clear? Nothing in between or ambiguity, we are telling you, in no uncertain terms, that the correct form is arancino with an o.

If you come to us in  Messina  of course. If you are in Palermo, instead, the situation  changes.

It is said arancina, with an a!

Zingarelli vocabulary in hand (1917 edition), the question would seem to be resolved indisputably with the  feminine form . After all, the name derives from the orange, being a rustic with a rounded and golden shape, therefore “clearly” the feminine form must be used.

And this is very true in Palermo and in some areas of Ragusa and Syracuse. Even the  shape  of the rustic, which in Messina or Catania is always pointed, is  different , perfectly spherical, more similar to an orange, in fact.

The academy of bran  has analyzed the question in depth and, among other things, has observed that in other dictionaries the masculine form was foreseen, perhaps because it is more linked to the color of the rustic, rather than to the fruit. Furthermore, even the fruit itself in the dialect is indicated in the masculine, therefore, in the words of the Academy, the answer “ is not that simple “.

In Palermo, where standard Italian was synonymous with  prestige , the model was followed whereby the genus is used to distinguish the fruit from the tree that produces it. In Syracuse and Ragusa, on the other hand, the feminine form was probably preferred because the dialectal form ( partuallu ) was completely different and did not give rise to misunderstandings.

The truth lies in the middle

As should be clear by now,  the intelligent tourist should follow local customs. In Palermo we talk about arancine, in Messina they are called arancini. No doubts, no misunderstandings, no parochialism. Moreover, as already observed, even the shape of the delicious rustic is different depending on the province in which it is located, so could we not conclude that these are two completely different products?

Furthermore, one wonders what is the correct way to indicate the typical culinary product in question  in the rest of the peninsula, where it is not necessary to conform to local customs. Arancino or arancina? The bran academy has clarified, pace of both “factions”, that both forms are correct.

It being understood that in Messina we only use the male version and that it is good to stick to it when you are in our province, it is possible to use both male and female without fear of making a mistake.

The only mistake would be to not be seduced  by the delight of this simple yet effective culinary product. Call it what you like, but come to us and try it! We can assure you that every ideological, linguistic and parochial question disappears  in the face of an incontrovertible truth: it is truly a delight.

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