Some typical Sicilian sweet treats (dolci) recommended by us:
Years ago this dolce was only eaten during carnival, but nowadays it’s one of the most famous Sicilian treats which you can buy all throughout Sicily. Just like the Sicilian cassata, the cannolo was introduced during the Arabian domination. It’s a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling of sweetened ricotta cheese and chocolate. For those who are not that hungry, there’s the possibility to order the cannolicchio, the smaller version of the cannolo.
Also a typical Sicilian treat that you simply must taste! Of this glazed cake, prepared with sweetened ricotta cheese, sugar and candied fruit, exist many versions. Sometimes a layer of almond paste is added and in certain parts of the island the cassata is less sweet. The sweetest cassata is the one made in Palermo and is considered the best one in Sicily (especially by the Palermitani, the inhabitants of Palermo)!
Brioche con gelato
Ice cream (gelato) obviously is not typical Sicilian, but the combination with a sweet bun (brioche) is something you will probably not often see in the north of Italy. “A bun with ice cream?” you might ask. Yes, indeed it may sound a little strange, but once you have tasted an ice-cream sandwich, you probably won’t go back to buying ice cream in a cone. The quality of the Sicilian ice cream is excellent because the fresh fruit that is used is very sweet and flavorful, due to the amount of sun hours on the island of Sicily. There are literally hundreds of flavors, from the “standard” fruit flavored ice cream, to ice cream with pistachio, chocolate ice cream with red (hot) peppers, sette veli (seven layers of different kinds of chocolate), the cassata icecream and so on. The best ice cream is homemade, so when in Sicily, look for a gelateria artigiana, to be sure the ice cream is homemade!
The basic granita is made from water (finely chopped ice), sugar and lemon, and is very refreshing. There are a variety of different flavors, such as peach, pear, almond, chocolate, pistachio and many more. In bars, granita is usually served with a brioche (a sweet bun) on the side, however, many places will serve it in a bun, in which case it’s called brioche con granita.
The cassatelle are dolci filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and chocolate, covered with a sugar icing. The shape of a cassatella looks like a small calzone, the famous folded pizza. The best cassatelle are made in a bar in the coastal town of Castellammare del Golfo, close to Balestrate.
Obviously the best way to get to know the Sicilian cuisine is to come and visit Sicily for a lovely, relaxing holiday!