Only the Nuns Know

Only the cloistered Cistercian nuns of Agrigento’s Monastero di Santo Spirito know the secret recipe for their special sweet couscous. I’ve now eaten it a couple of times (You can too, if you come with us for our Savoring Sicily tour in September!), and I can tell you that I tasted pistachios, chocolate, and of course, sugar ……

Pasquetta and Cassata

Pasquetta, or Easter Monday, is a day to celebrate spring’s arrival with good friends. Social gatherings in Sicily almost always involve sharing a meal, and most meals are followed by sweets. Cassata cake (picture) is one of those sweets that can be found throughout the island. In the past, cassata used to be associated with…

Let’s Live Vicariously

I’m arriving in Sicily from New York on Tuesday, which is very exciting; however, that means I’m going to miss this: The Sherbeth Festival Internazionale del Gelato Artigianale. You got it right: an international festival of artisanal gelato! Right in Palermo’s city center on Corso Vittorio Emanuele at Via Maqueda to Piazza Bologni, all weekend,…

Here Comes the Cassata

There is much debate about the origins of cassata cake, but one thing is clear: it is as elaborate as the Baroque architecture one finds throughout Sicily–and it is as decadent. So much so, that until the mid-20th century, cassata was only eaten by the masses on Easter Sunday. Cassata is made up of sponge…

Let’s Talk about Sfinci

Saint Joseph’s Day, which is on March 19, is a complex feast day with many traditions based upon the concept of thanksgiving. You can read my detailed article about it on The Inquisitive Eater at http://ow.ly/uuAuT. But let’s cut to the chase: we all really want to know about dessert, right? That’s where sfince di…

Ancient Sicilian Secret

The cloistered Cistercian nuns of Agrigento’s Monastero di Santo Spirito, like many of their cloistered counterparts around Sicily, over the centuries have raised funds by selling baked goods. Pictured here is one of those goods–sweet couscous–for which the recipe is a secret. After eating it during our Experience Sicily tour in September, I can tell…