cannoliThroughout the populated areas of Sicily you are rarely more than 100 metres from a good cannolo, a fried pastry tube filled with sweet ricotta cream. The filling is often dotted with mini-chocolate chips and may also contain nuts, lemon or orange zest, mascarpone and other accessories.


Pino Cuttaia’s cannolo di melanzana perlina in pasta croccante

For (re)inventive Italian chefs like Pino Cuttaio of Le Madri in Licata, Sicily the cannolo is a classic shape open to reinterpretation: His figurative cannolo di melanzana perlina in pasta croccante – “aubergine (eggplant) cannolo in a crunchy tube of pasta” – is a signature dish.

Perhaps only at Panificio Costanza on the Sicilian island of Favignana are the crisp pastry cylinders filled with napkins.

That’s right, Costanza fills all its cannoli with napkins. Marked nakins. Don’t believe me? Have a look below:

cannolicannoliThe trouble with traditional cannoli shells is that once filled with ricotta cream they soon become soggy and lose their crispness. As a result many of Sicily’s best pastry shops display only the pastry tubes and fill them to order with ricotta cream.

Lest an unknowing tourist mistake their empty cannoli for hallow shells, Panificio Costanza stuffs them with white napkins hand-dotted with a black felt marker. This is somehow meant to make them look more enticing.

So, no, Panificio Costanza, was not proposing you employ its cannoli shells as napkin holders, as they do. Their message is instead one of freshness: We fill our cannoli with chocolate-speckled ricotta no more than a minute before their cream and chips are filling your mouth.