Discover the origins of Italy’s most iconic dessert.
Although there are traces of an ancient cannoli already during the Roman Empire, it is said that today’s cannoli were born in the city of Caltanissetta during the Arab domination. Caltanissetta, translation of the original arabic name “Kalt El Nissa” was the place where the Saracen Emirs built their harem. To confirm this, the translation of the name Caltanissetta means “Castle of the women“.
It is said that the wives of the emir, to pass the time, devoted themselves to the preparation of extravagant dishes and would modify the recipe of an already existing Arab sweet, made of ricotta, almonds and honey, reworking it and mixing it with the Roman recipe giving birth to a dessert that would later become universally known.
Subsequently, with the end of the Arab domination in Sicily, the harem disappeared, but probably some of these women remained in Sicily and converted to the Christian religion, withdrawing to the surrounding monasteries, bringing with them the recipes they had developed for the courts of the emirs.
According to this story, the origin of Sicilian cannoli was a recipe handed down by Muslim women to the Christian nuns of Caltanissetta, who began to produce the sweet initially during the Carnevale, and then moving into production throughout the year.
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