In the famous book “Il Gattopardo” (The Leopard) written by Tomasi di Lampedusa there is the chapter dedicated to the great party which took place at Palazzo Ponteleone where the two hosts, Don Diego and Donna Margherita, offer their guests a banquet truly worth of a king.

Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina, while approaching the tables dedicated to magnificent sweets noted that the “shameless virgin’s cakes shaped like breasts looked like a profane caricature of St. Agatha” since many of the paintings of her show Agatha holding a plate with her breasts.. Don Fabrizio mused “St. Agatha’s sliced-off breasts sold by convents, devoured at dances”.

Saint Agatha’s breasts (also called Virgin’s breasts) are small round pastries with a white icing and a candied cherry on top. They were created in honor of Saint Agatha, Patron Saint of Catania, a martyr whose breasts were cut off by her torturers. Although they are very popular in Sicily, there are different versions of this sweet throughout the island. In some areas around Palermo the “minna” is baked with the filling inside, while in Catania it is a sort of small breast-shaped Sicilian cassata.


(foto di copertina Barbara Conti)

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