Don’t even try it. You will lose!😉
I often go to Sicily for work and pleasure. The delicacies of its pastry shop tradition are real temptations, to which we cannot (and must not!) say no. Everything is delicious: from the traditional cassata to the granita, from the almond cookies to the gelo di mellone (a kind of watermelon pudding), from the pistachio croissant to the martorana fruit (sweets with the shape of fruits created with almond flour and sugar) and, of course, one of the masterpieces of Sicilian pastry: the cannoli.
The traditional cannoli is made with atube-shaped fried waffle filled with sheep’s milk ricotta cheese. The name derives from the river reeds (canne in Italian) used to roll the wafer during preparation. Over time it has changed: the filling can be enriched with chocolate chips, cinnamon, chopped nuts, cherries, and candied orange peel. The crunchy wafer combined with the sweetness of the sweetened ricotta cheese make an exceptional balance of flavours. A simple dessert but ready to explode with delicate and sumptuous taste once in your mouth.
The origins of the Sicilian cannoli are uncertain but seem to date back to the Arab domination in Sicily (from 827 to 901 A.D.). We already know that the Arabs greatly influenced the art of the island, but they also brought novelties to the cuisine such as rice, almonds, or cinnamon. Sicily produced sheep ricotta, but Arabs worked it with candied fruit or flavoured it with liqueurs: a legacy that they undoubtedly handed down to the Sicilians during their settlement on the island.
A legend tells that the cannoli were prepared for the first time by women of the harems of the Saracen emirs in Caltanissetta (the name of the city derives from the Arabic “Kalt El Nissa” and means “Castle of women”). According to another source, cannoli were invented by the cloistered nuns of a convent nearby Caltanissetta.
Did you know that a cannoli description dates back to 75 B.C.? The famous orator Cicero made it. When he was commissioner of Lilybeo (today’s city of Marsala, on the western tip of the island) he spoke of a “Tubus farinarius dulcissimo edulio ex lacte fartus” or a tube of flour filled with a very sweet milk-based food. It looks like the ancestor of our cannoli, doesn’t it?
Those who have been on our tours know well that typical products play a central role in our trip programs. We believe that visiting a place implies enjoying its cuisine as well as its trails and architecture
Tasting Sicilian pastry is like taking a trip back in history. I love our sweet history!