Friday, March 5, 2010

Sicilian Sweets and Where to Buy Them in Catania

Ahhh... i dolci siciliani... the Sicilian sure love their sweets!

The pasticcerie are everywhere and even small bars will have a selection of cakes and pastries to soothe your sweet tooth.  Many of the desserts are filled with ricotta, or made with almond paste. 


And then there's the selection of chocolate covered nuts, chocolate truffles, and chocolate covered candied fruit.


Since it was citrus season, we had the mandarini sorbetto at two different places and found them really refreshing and delicious.


Sicily is also famous for its granita, a semi-frozen dessert of sugar, water and flavoring.  The almond and pistacchio granita are my favorite.  To me, a good almond/pistacchio granita is where you can taste real crushed nuts in the granita.  No fake flavors for me!  I can never decide which to have so I usually ask for half and half of each flavor.  If only I had more time there, I'd surely have one of these every day.


On my last evening, I bought a selection of Sicilian cookies and pastries to share with colleagues at work.


And who can forget the famous Sicilian cannoli?  The ones that S picked up from the pasticceria I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza or Grandma Vicenza's Sweets in Catania were fantastic.  They have several locations but the branch at the airport in Catania is really convenient for travellers looking to bring home a local treat.  There was a line while waiting for them to bring in another fresh delivery of cannoli at 7pm - that's how fresh they are.  They pack it up for you to bring on the plane and some people were buying huge trays to take with them.

One might think, 'Pastries from the airport?  They can't be any good!'.   


But we, with the help of my colleagues, did a taste test with the pasta di mandorle, the ubiquitous Sicilian treat made of almond paste, bought from a few different bakeries.  The ones from Nonna Vicenza, bought from the airport, won hands down.  So do your friends and family a favor and bring home some of these treats the next time you're in Catania.

Catania Airport, past security, across from Gate 9

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