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Sicilians love feasts. Anywhere in Sicily multicoloured and bright cakes and pastries of all shapes and sizes are made to celebrate both secular and religious feasts. Frutta martorana, for example, soft fruit-shaped candies with almonds and sugar as primary ingredients, is closely related to All Souls' Day and All Hallows' Day festivals in early November. These sweet marzipan fruits were meant to symbolize abundance and recall summertime colours.

Every religious festivity in Sicily has always been celebrated with a peculiar marzipan pastry. Christmas marzipan sheep, marzipan little horses and donkeys on Saint Anthony's day, marzipan pigs on Saint Sebastian's day, Easter marzipan lambs (also in the variety stuffed with a cedar marmalade) carrying a banner with a white cross on a red background and symbolizing the Risen Christ, are typical examples of Sicilian people's devotion and creativity.

The traditional "ossa dei morti" (dead bones), very hard and sweet biscuits prepared to ceelebrate All Souls' Day together with the sugar puppet-shaped candies called "pupi di zucchero" are other religion-related sweets. The latter can be moulded in many shapes, although dancers and knights are in great demand among the children. Other kinds of bread and pastries are prepared to celebrate Saint Joseph's day. In Salemi, loaves of bread of all shapes and sizes cover an altar prepared to pay homage to the Saint, whereas in Palermo you can find the delicious sfince di San Giuseppe (fritters filled with ricotta and morsels of chocolate). Once traditionally made on Easter, the cannoli (tubular crusts filled with pistachios, candied oranges, morsels of chocolate and sweet ricotta) are now available in every season and in all sizes, from the thumb-sized cannolicchi or sigarette in Palermo area to the giant versions from Piana degli Albanesi.

The origins of the famous "cassata" can be traced back to the Arab's reign. It is a delicate sponge cake layered with sweet ricotta mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, pistachios and candied fruits and covered with a sweet icing of sugar coloured with green or white dyes. Cassata is now available throughout the year, though in the past it was usually prepared on Easter or to celebrate important occasions such as weddings and baptisms. As regards sorbetti, ice creams and the delicious "granite", Sicilian production offers a wide variety of inimitable flavours. “ Granita ”, for instance, is not only prepared with lemon or coffee, but also with typical Sicilian almond's milk, pistachios, prickly pears, strawberries or mulberries.

In the summer, Sicilians usually have their breakfast in coffee shops enjoying brioche and granita with cream. Sometimes, especially on Saint Rosalia's day, the typical jasmine ice cream or watermelon ice cream are usually preferred.

Modica's chocolate is also worthy of mention. It is still prepared according to the old Aztec tradition, with only cocoa, sugar and chilly pepper, but nowadays a wide variety of new flavours has been added. You can find chocolate mixed with cinnamon, pistachios, coffee, lemon, orange, tangerins, mint and a lot of other unusual ingredients, to fill with pleasure even very exacting and curious palates.

Frutta Martorana

Marzipan sweets

Sicilian Cassata

Popular Sicilian Cannoli

The Granita

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