Sicily is its sea, its history, its breath-taking landscapes but the truth is that Sicily is its food. When we talk about Sicily we necessarily have to talk about its delicious food: cannoli, martorana fruits, brioches with ice-cream, pasta and so on.
But, everyone, from north to south, from west to east agrees that the real symbol of Sicilian food is definitely her majesty, the “Cassata” cake.
The Sicilian “Cassata” is a traditional liqueur-soaked sponge cake filled with sweetened ricotta cheese decorated with a ring of green marzipan and candied fruits.
The origins of the “Cassata” are of Arabic derivation, between the ninth and eleventh centuries. The Arabs introduced sugar cane, lemon, bitter orange, mandarin and almond to Sicily. The queen of pastry is born from the marriage of these wonders and ricotta cheese.
The history of the Sicilian cassata has Spanish and baroque influences, too; Spanish introduced the art of chocolate and sponge cake while the baroque added candied fruit. Concerning the etymology, finally, many sources suggest the word “cassata “ could have its roots in the Latin word for cheese, caseus.
Basically, as Sicily history is the result of a melting-pot of different cultures and people so the cassata is.
The Sicilian saying “tintu è cu un mancia a cassata a matina ri Pasqua” (“mean who does not eat cassata on Easter morning”) refers to the tradition according to which Sicilian nuns prepared the dessert only for the Easter period.
“Cassata” is surely an essential dessert during the holidays but the reality is that it’s so tasty that each moment is the right moment for a slice of this pastry masterpiece!