In 2009 Bronagh moved from Brazil to her husband’s home town in Sicily to take over and relaunch his family’s restaurant. They decided to give it a Spanish flavour, renaming it Pachamama after the Mother Earth goddess in Andean culture, and included Tapas and Paella on the menu.
They could never have anticipated the difficulties that lay ahead. Locals called it “Bacia-mama” after the old mafia greeting baciamo le mani and perused the new menu with suspicion, much of which was directed at her – what could a foreigner possibly know about good Sicilian food? And where was she from anyway – was she the Brazilian wife rescued from the Amazon or was she really Spanish?
They overcame staff issues, petty mafioso mentality and interference from bloodthirsty, corrupt inspectors, even garnering an award of Excellence on Trip Advisor.
However, in October 2015, to the dismay of their dedicated bunch of regulars, one of whom declared they had made them orphans (“Ci avete resi orfani di un locale”), Pachamama served its last cocktails and paella. It was time for both to embark on different projects. They closed the door of Pachamama with a heartfelt sigh: creating and running it brought unexpected satisfactions, inspirations and friendships that will outlast the restaurant.
Much of the ups and downs are recorded in her blog, Sicilian Diary, begun as an essential catharsis when Pachamama first opened and now telling tales from the heart of this volcanic land…