Lucky for me my husband is good friends with Chef Girolamo at Luigi a Mare, a restaurant that sits right on the beach in Ischia Porto, the island of Ischia’s capital. He’s graciously been handing over cannoli like the ones in the photo above to me just about once a week since I arrived. And even though I may be the size of a truck on the way back to America, I’m relishing every bite
As an island, off the coast of Naples in Italy, Ischia is not known for cannoli. That’s a Sicilian treat. My niece once brought the real deal cannolis to us straight from Palermo and I couldn’t speak for a day afterward because they were so good. There are lots of Americans reading this thinking, “Oh, yes, I love cannoli. I get them every time I stop into the local Italian bakery here in the United States. Who cares about these Italian ones?” Oh, ladies and gents, you don’t know what you’re missing. These treats have ruined the American cannoli for me. Ruined them.
Sicilians don’t use traditional ricotta. Instead, they use ricotta made with goat’s or sheep’s milk. The difference in taste is remarkable. While the American cannoli (or even standard Italian ones that do not include the other ricotta) have a heavy, dense cream filling, the Sicilian ones are smooth, light, and fluffy. There’s an extra sweetness to the ricotta that makes the cream all the more luscious. Add a crispy, fried, tube shell, and you’ve got yourself a cannoli worth marrying. There are no chocolate chips or other distractions in these babies either. They don’t need them. Like most Italian food, their beauty is in their simplicity.
Thanks to the Internet, the chef can order Sicilian ricotta and make the real deal right on the beach in Ischia. If Italy had contests like the ones we do in America, this cannoli would take home the gold, an A+, five stars, and more. You get the idea. Luigi a Mare offers delicious food, including raw and cooked shellfish, exquisite pasta dishes, and baked fresh fish like you’ve never tasted before. Just read the reviews on Trip Advisor. But I’d keep returning just for the cannoli. Yes, my weekly fix is probably slowly killing me, but it’s an oh-so-sweet death.
Di Meglio uses the written word to help families create memories and stick together. You can follow her on Facebook at Francesca’s Newlyweds Nest and on Twitter @ItalianMamma10.