Take the cannoli! (*)
At the beginning of the year I posted a short article about cannoli but, following my more recent trip to Sicily, I feel obliged to write another note - an update on experiences of this sweet delight.
While cannoli has always been popular in Italy I got the impression (forgive the sweeping generalisation) that it is more so at the moment as I saw them on sale in Bologna (at the airport), Venice and of course in Sicily. I didn't try the cannoli in Bologna principally because they were on sale with the filling already inserted. Which brings me to the point of this post.
Cannolo is essentially cream (ricotta) cheese on a deep-fried, dry biscuit. So if the cream is allowed to sit on the biscuit for any length of time the biscuit will lose its crispness. Good cannoli is prepared only on order i.e. the filling inserted at the point of sale.
In Venice, I saw small cannoli on display with either vanilla or chocolate flavoured cream. Neither of these is a traditional filling. I tried one of the vanilla variety, a small cannolo, and found it unsatisfying.
In Sicily, I had heard that "the best" cannoli were made in a small town called Dattilo, so I felt obliged to investigate. Dattilo is near Erice and Trapani, just a short drive from Trapani airport. The town is small and, apart from a church, has a single bar / café "Euro Bar" which also houses the "pasticceria" that produces cannoli.
We bought a couple of what I regard as "standard" sized cannoli, plus another marzipan-based pastry, and left. It was close to lunchtime but there since was no restaurant in Dattilo the eating of the cannoli would have to wait! We ate them in the afternoon.
The cannoli were delicious. The biscuit tubes had, fortunately, not suffered much from being left in the car while we had lunch and remained crisp. The filling was perfect so far as the ricotta cheese was concerned - not too sweet or creamy. Unfortunately, the filling also included chocolate drops which I do not like and, in my opinion, does not measure up to having the more traditional chopped candied fruit mix.
Despite the chocolate bits, the cannoli were certainly top quality and one of the best I had tasted. The cannoli from Euro Bar are highly regarded in Sicily and said to be top rated in numerous magazines. Well worth driving out to Dattilo if you happen to be in the neighbourhood - about an hour from the centre of Palermo.
Dattilo, (Paceco) TP
+39 0923 861434
(*) Famous quote from The Godfather film