The cannoli are well known all over the world for their creaminess and delicious taste, but few know about the erotic legend that accompanies them. Legend has it that in the Sicilian town of Caltanissetta, during Arab rule (around 1000 AD), a group of women created the treat.
It is a layer of crispy puff pastry in the shape of a tube (male sexual organ shape), made of flour, which is fried and filled with sugar, butter, and sweet ricotta cheese, a creamy finish to exalt the masculinity of men.
The Myth of cannoli
The origin has never been proven, as there is no written historical record mentioning erotic cakes dating back centuries. On the other hand, many historians claim that in many ancient cultures, cooking had a symbolic meaning for certain cultures. A clear example was the Greek and Roman people.
Approximately in ancient Greece, 1,200 years before Christ, during the Thesmophoria festivities in honor of the goddesses Persephone and Demeter, the people consumed honey and sesame cakes in the shape of breasts, thus celebrating the fertility and motherhood of their women. Although it is believed to have its origins in much older rites, celebrated in Ancient Egypt to worship the goddess Isis, it later spread to the rest of the Mediterranean, through pre-Roman Sicily.
Many researchers claim that the sexual forms of Sicilian desserts and their aphrodisiac ingredients derive from that ancient world. At that time, it was important to have many children, as they cultivated the land and supported the family.
Cannoli are not the only example of Italian pastries associated with eroticism.
The Ancient Catholicism
With the conquest of the catholic church and the holy inquisition, there was absolute control by the fathers and priests, influencing and controlling even the gastronomy, the nuns were allowed to make this kind of desserts in the convents, but without any erotic sense and they were not allowed to eat them during the whole year.
Dario Mangano, semiotician of the University of Palermo Studies wrote several texts on the semiotics of Sicilian desserts, and particular dates when the church was allowed to eat this kind of erotic desserts, including the famous cannoli.
Men gave the cannoli to women to insinuate their sexual desires with the following chant: «Ogni cannolu è scettru d ‘ogni Re … lu cannolu è la virga di Mosè» (Every cannoli is the scepter of every king…the cannoli is the penis of Moses).
Unfortunately, many of the convents of nuns who used the original recipe closed, and only a couple of old nuns were left to teach the women of the village how to prepare the traditional cannoli and it has survived to this day.
And although cannoli are now ubiquitous throughout Italy, the best and most «authentic» cannoli can probably only be found in a few Sicilian cafes and of course at Ragazzi Italian Restaurant.
Today, cannoli are so popular and traditional that there is no Italian pastry shop without a tray of cannoli. And they have been tropicalized around the world by filling them with different flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, lemon, soft toffee, strawberry, and much more!
We invite you to come to Ragazzi and try this traditional and wonderful Sicilian dessert.