July 16, 2012

Palermo, Sicily. May, 1988

If you’ve got a good thing, go with it. Then go further. Witness the variety of offerings here, all fashioned of marzipan. Because Sicily abounds in almond trees -- and in craftsmen -- there seems no end to the shapes, sizes and colors used to mold these local treats. I wish I liked marzipan. I don’t. But etiquette required at least a polite sampling of the wares by each of the pastry chefs Nick and I visited on our research trip for his Great Italian Desserts book. After a week or so of Sicilian explorations, my heart would begin to sink as each new maestro would ask us where we had been previously. When we’d tell him, he’d proudly announce, “They know nothing there. Here we have a wonderful specialty...” and then he’d produce a big tray of -- you guessed it. Though I have to admit, those peas in the pod are mighty cute. (Wait. Are these papier maché? We saw a lot of those throughout Sicily, too.)

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