The ricotta

a Sicilian speciality

It is looks like a cheese, but is not. It is looks like a cream, but is not. The ricotta represents a special product which is totally natural. Here in Sicily, this white food has a deep roots. According to the Greek history, the ricotta it is into their cook and culture. Homer, who was much inspired by the Sicilian island, wrote in the Odyssey of the giant cyclop Polyphemus, who is making ricotta when Ulysses hero come into its cave. So, the ricotta has a long tradition in the cooking Sicilian. Its freshness and softness are the main features of ricotta. Usually it is putted in a conic shape, like a pierced basket. The design permits to collect the whey of ricotta. This clear liquid is very nourishing to drink. This particular food is widely appreciated for more than one recipe: it can be sweet or savoury, hot or cold, fresh or cooked.

Go to taste

Ricotta salata is fresh ricotta left to dry until it’s hard enough to be salted and aged. In this case, it is usual to put on ‘pasta alla norma’, traditional dishe consisting in spaghetti, tomato sauce, basilico and fries eggplants. But savory or not, the ricotta is produced out of the city. The ricotta is present everywhere in the island. Going around Sicily, you could stop near the Sicani Mountains, not too far from Palermo. There is rural place called Val di Kam where the locals open their labour for you. Moreover, if you want to buy genuine ricotta or taste other products, you could visit Feudo Pollicino. In general, all ancient villages offer you a beautiful experience, in the middle of Sicily. For example near Madonie Mountains or Nebrodi Mountains. There, you could visit the countryside staying in our historical villas in Sicily. Exploring the local traditional food, you’ll find out that ricotta can be prepared with sheep milk or cow milk. Especially in the countryside, the small villages many shepherds graze big flocks, so it is very common find ricotta in large quantity.

Pastries – the Sicilian Cannollo

Maybe, it is one of the most famous pastries all over the world. The cannolo is completely filled with ricotta. Then, it adds one piece of caramelise orange and chocolate drops. It is delicious and cheap! Indeed, this incredible pastry costs 2,50 euro for each. Usually, you could find it in any local bar or patisserie. Probably, the originals recipe has an Arab origins, but it is commonly know that is made by a group of nuns in a convent in Caltanissetta to celebrate carnival. Today, the nuns continue to prepare cannoli in some small oratory. This is the case of the Santa Caterina nuns. We are in the ancient centre of Palermo. There, they open their kitchen to the visitors, so you can come in and taste cannoli in the cloister of monastery. It is open every day from 09:30 am to 01:30 pm and 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm.

The cassata

The unique Sicilian cake is entirely filled up with ricotta. It is really complex to prepare: it is much decorated. Indeed, the cassata is topped with many candied fruits and chocolate shavings. If you want to move in East Sicily, there is a special edition of cassata in Catania. It consists in a small piece of cassata, called ‘Cassatella di Sant’Agata’. This delicious pastry is dedicated to the patron of Catania, Saint Agate. Come into Caffè Europa and order one cassatella to taste this holy masterpiece. If you have an opportunity to eat cassata while visiting Sicily, please don’t miss out!

This article was written by Giulia Sofi

Today, she creates editorial content for cultural magazine and exhibition project.
Her articles have been published in some art magazine like CityRivista and Insideart.