Caffé Sicilia in Italy

Caffé Sicilia takes us immediately to our sunny memories of childhood. When Corrado Assenza felt like improvising to create flavors for gelato, he put a fresh oyster on top of almond, and this combination of sweet and salty (from the oyster), took him to the days when he had fresh fruit on the beach as a child, coming out of the water for snacks.

All of us have these childhood memories that could become a source of inspiration. There is always a connection between what you dream your bakes could become, and many of the memories or aspirations from your past.

Same when Corrado had to take over the family business, a Caffé founded in 1892 in Noto (Sicilia), he knew nothing about running a bakery and he was up to the task of “learn by looking”. His mentor at the time said: “This is not school, you’ll have to be independent and learn without asking”. That also rings a bell for some of us, if one doesn’t make it to Pastry School for whatever reason but still have a passion for food and baking…the straight way is imitating. Surround yourself by pastry chefs, books, online classes, and, of course through your own experiences and mistakes.

The Netflix episode about Corrado and Caffé Sicilia paint an idyllic picture: he bringing the Sicilian almond back to life, and “saving” it from disappearing…loved by everyone around, giving life to owners of small farms who produce the freshest Ricotta, the best milk, the best lemons, representing Sicily by heart. For Corrado, the quality of a product depends on the quality of the people who produce it, and this is maybe a nice take from the episode altogether.

From Gelato and Granita to Cassata and Cannoli. A long sweet menu and people from all around the world waiting to meet him. Letters coming in all directions to thank him and rain of customers that only visit Noto to be at Caffé Sicilia.

Picture the solar lights, the intense summer colors: the yellow and oranges, the pale green. The lemony smell, the countryside calmness.  His desserts are a piece of art on the palette of Oranges, Whites, Greens, and Reds, almost like a Dolce & Gabbana summer dress.

More that we are profoundly in-love with all Corrado’s creations, with these Sicilian colors and flavors, and the illusion of a relaxed life in summer days that never end. Houses which backyards are open to the sea and the simplicity of life by the water are like a dream coming true…the biggest take of all seem to be serving people and being generous in everything one does.

If you haven’t watched this episode yet on Netflix, you really should…It’s Chef’s Table, Volume 4: Pastry, Episode 2

Corrado Assenza

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