Sicily is the land of sweets. In the old days, the nuns made them in convents. A few still do but nowadays you need to go to pasticcerie or regular bars to sample the amazing range although not all will be good. Two days ago we had a very poor gelato but we struck it lucky this morning when Mary took me to eat the best cannoli ever in the most unlikely place, an ugly hamlet called Dattilo that is home to a few hundred people. I don’t know if the place is mafia land but I am sure that any gangsters there will do the same as the Godfather character and leave the gun for Euro Bar’s cannoli! From there, we went up to Erice, to Maria Grammatico who had made the heart that Mary gave me for my birthday — Mary wrote all about her and her sweets in the brilliant Bitter Almonds. I was hoping to buy a heart but Maria had been travelling, so, we made do with an incredibly delicious Genovese (top picture) plus a whole selection of marzipan sweets for me to take home!
Jusqu’à nouvel ordre, the best cannoli I have had and you can see how flaky they are when bitten into in the picture below. As for the ricotta filling, it was made with sheep’s milk and it was not too sweet with plenty of it inside the cannolo for a perfect balance between cream and pastry. Worth the detour!
And these delightful little marzipan sweets filled with candied citron (called dolci di riposto because they last) are exactly like my birthday heart but made small. Maria ices them normally but I asked her to keep them plain. Much nicer texture and not too sweet. You don’t need to make a detour to go to Erice as it is a must if you are on the Palermo side of the island. Just make sure you stop at Maria’s, both for the Genovese and the marzipan!