Filipinos are great fans of Italian food, what with its generous portions and bright, bold flavors. However, Italian desserts have never really made it to this part of the world, barring tiramisu, gelato, and panna cotta. Fortunately, Trattoria Sicily over at Alabang’s Festival Supermall has been trying to correct that.
Aside from the usual suspects, this trattoria‘s dessert menu also includes those crispy, deep-fried fritters known as zeppole and what I now consider one of my favorite desserts: cannoli.
Cannoli are rolled tubes of pastry dough that have been deep-fried till crisp. These are usually filled with whipped cream, sweetened ricotta cheese, or – better yet – sweetened mascarpone cheese flavored with orange-blossom water or cinnamon. These are a Sicilian specialty and were even referenced in Francis Ford Coppola’s now-iconic series The Godfather through the line, “Leave the gun; take the cannoli.” They’re so delicious that even hardened mobsters will drop their weapons for ’em.
The cannoli at Trattoria Sicily are made with a cocoa-flavored pastry rather than a plain one and this makes for a happy combination as the slightly bitter flavor of the cocoa makes for an excellent contrast with the sweet mascarpone filling. The addition of powdered sugar, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, maraschino cherries, and chocolate chips makes this dessert even more fascinating. These are fantastic to eat, particularly when each bite is dipped into a cup of hot Italian coffee. You get four to a serve and can split it with a friend – but if and when your heart is aching and loneliness plagues you, why share?