Fancy a sweet break in Palermo? Suggestions for a couple of treats you just have to try and the many bakeries that have opened in town in the past few years.
This article is split in two, but it is dedicated wholly to lovers of sweet treats.
We’ll start by recommending two typical Sicilian desserts that are a constant feature of Palermo Sundays: cannoli and cassate.
The cannolo (cannoli is the plural form, which tourists often mistake for the actual name) is cylindrical and reminiscent of a tap spout (hence the name). Its crispy, fried flour shell contains a sheep ricotta filling flavoured with orange peel, and sometimes candied fruit. If the ricotta is not sheep’s ricotta, get up and run! They’re at their best during this time of year, because the sheep enjoy a perfect diet, which will change as the temperature rises.
The cassata is a cake shaped like an upside-down bowl, made with sponge cake, marzipan and candied fruit. You might also try the cassatelle, a mini version which is ideal for tasting. You cannot visit Palermo and leave without trying both these desserts.
Sweets lovers have seen a flurry of American and British-style bakeries pop up during recent years, offering cakes, macaroons, brownies and pancakes with maple syrup.
Shabby chic decor, swings (very popular) and very young patrons, millennials and lots of young women for this hang-out, which is very fashionable at this time of year. They serve a rich breakfast in the morning, with yogurt, muesli, fruit, pancakes, and coffee. Patrons vary greatly between breakfast, lunch for an aperitif and dinner. If you’re not sure what cake to go for, just ask Martina for some advice.
Of Starbucks inspiration (they even serve their own version of Frappuccino), they have one store in the centre of town and another close to Mondello beach. They also serve muffins, cheesecakes, donuts and cupcakes.
One of the latest arrivals to the Palermo bakery scene, yet with very careful cake and furniture design. Names and recipes are personalised. A few examples? Unicorn milk, Miss cheesecake, Miss energy cake.
Cat lovers can find a sweets and cats combo in a room filled with happy felines. Technically it is a neko cafe (the first one opened in Taiwan in 1998 and they are very popular in Japan). You can observe the cats and play with them while you sip a cup of something and eat a dessert.
Our last mention is clearly inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It is a themed cafe that revolves around tea a lot, as one would naturally assume if they’ve seen the movie. You might come across some cosplayers, and the cafe management itself often goes off to take part in events with people who like to dress up.