biscotti ricci      



It is especially during the Easter period that the “curled cakes” are produced and sold in Palma di Montechiaro (“Donnafugata” in the novel “The Leopard”). You can buy them in the local pastry shops or in the Benedictine Monastery where the enclosed nuns still prepare them in the traditional way, exactly like their ancestors who prepared these cakes for the Prince of Salina.

Ducal Palace   Cathedral   Benedictine nunnery   novel "The Leopard"

The Convent of the Holy Ghost had a rigid rule of enclousure and entry was severely forbidden to men. That was why the Prince particularly enjoyed visiting it, for he, as direct descendant of the foundress, was not excluded: and of this privilege, shared only the King of Naples, he was both jealous and childishly proud.

      This faculty of canonical intrusion was the chief, but not the only reason, for his liking the Convent of the Holy Ghost. Everything about the place pleased him, beginning with the humble simplicity of the parlour, with is barrel vaulted ceiling centred on the Leopard, its double gratings for interviews, a little wooden wheel for passing messages in and out, and heavy door whose threshold he and the King were the only men in the whole world allowed to cross. He liked the look of the nuns with their wide wimples of purest white linen in thiny pleats gleaming against the rough black robes; he was edified at hearing for the hundredth time the Mother Abbess describe the Blessed One's ingenuous miracles; at her showing the corner of the dank garden where the saintly nun had suspended in the air a huge stone which the Devil, irritated by her austerity, had flung at her; he was astounded at the sight of the two famous and indecipherable letters framed on the wall of a cell, one to the Devil from Blessed Corbèra, to convert him to virtue, and the other the Devil's reply, expressing, it seems, his regret at not being able to comply with request: the Prince liked the almond cakes which the nuns made up from an anciente recipe, he liked listening to the Office chanted in choir, and he was even quite happy to pay over to the community a not inconsiderable portion of his own income, in accordance with the act of foundation.

(Taken from the novel “The Leopard” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Vintage Books London)

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