Heavenly Sicilian Pastries!
If you are planning a trip to Sicily, be sure to sample the Sicilian pastries. Sicilian food, even the sweets, is considered to be healthy. The island has developed a variety of noted cuisines and wines. It is sometimes referred to as "God's Kitchen", because the ingredients are rich in taste, but affordable to the general populace. Here's a look at some of the selections that you have to choose from.
Possibly the best known Sicilian pastries are cannoli. These are tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet creamy filling that usually contains ricotta cheese. A less traditional choice for the filling is Mascarpone, similar to cream cheese. This filling is combined with vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, wine, rosewater or other flavorings. Some chefs add chopped succade, the candied peel of citrus fruits. Cannoli originated in the Palermo area as a treat during the season of Carnevale.
Seafood and pasta are staples of Sicilian food, although other meat dishes are available, including goose, goat, rabbit, turkey and lamb. There are some varieties of cheese made from sheep's milk that originated on the island. Pecorino Siciliano and caciocavallo are two varieties. Caciocavallo has a flavor similar to the Italian Provolone.
In addition to sampling Sicilian food, do not forget to try the wine. Nero d'Avola, or Black of Avola, is the most important red wine grape in Sicily. Avola grapes are dark in color, near black, which explains the name. Avola is actually a town in the far south of Sicily. A variety of flavors are blended with the grapes. So, there is a wide selection to choose from.
One of the famous Sicilian pastries is Ciarduna siciliana. Like Cannoli, it originated in Palermo. The shell is made of almond paste and filled with ricotta or mascarpone. It may be covered in chocolate or powdered sugar. Pignoli are Sicilian cookies that are also made from almond paste and topped with pine nuts. They are a traditional Christmas treat.
Bruccellati, which translates literally to "little bracelets", is another favorite Sicilian food for weddings and Christmas. Soft dough is rolled out and filled with figs, dates, nuts or other ingredients. The dough is then curved to form a bracelet shape, thus the name, little bracelets.
There are dozens of other Sicilian pastries to choose from. If you enjoy an after dinner sweet, you are in for a treat. Try the ice cream, too. It's yummy!