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Torrone is an ancient tradition in Sicilia, brought there during the Arab domination in the medieval period. According to Corrado, this Arab influence persists in the use of honey rather than sugar as the principal sweetener in Torrone di Mandorle di Noto. Corrado uses the same tools his family has been using for more than a century, including the same marble worktable, which he says helps cool the torrone, and is one of the secrets to his exceptional production.
Caffè Sicilia is a pastry shop founded in 1892 on the main street of Noto, a picturesque baroque town perched on a hill southwest of Siracusa. Carlo and Corrado Assenza are now the fourth generation in their family to run the shop, with an intense passion for the flavors and traditions of their region. Corrado is considered a pioneer among Italian chefs; educated in chemistry and biology, he brings the precision of scientific research to his recipes, drawing his inspiration from the grand tradition of Sicilian pasticceria to devise awe-inspiring new flavor combinations. He insists on using the best ingredients he can find from local farms for his line of marmalades, nuts and sweets, all produced by hand in the shop’s kitchen.