Francesco Trovato, a pastry chef from Acireale, grew up in Costarelli’s and Donna Marano’s kitchens; there he learnt the ancient food processing techniques of the Sicilian confectionary tradition. In 1929, he opened his own bakery and soon became a leader in the local culinary excellence. His marzipan carnations earned him a Cross of Merit
from the Italian Republic and the title of Knight Commander.

These paths were always subject to certain sea breezes whose names he could never remember. But was he a fisherman? He knew nothing about sea winds and airstreams, of course! He was only a pastry chef and from the sea, he stole the shapes of fish, sea urchins, crustaceans, mussels and mollusks. These marzipan pastries came in a variety of such realistic colors that they seemed to be alive, soaking in water, not yet caught. He used to enjoy seeing the faces of his fellow countrymen – the children especially – stuck to the window with their mouths
open while exclaiming “Get out of here, you devil! They look real!”

 

These paths were always subject to certain sea breezes whose names he could never remember. But was he a fisherman? He knew nothing about sea winds and airstreams, of course! He was only a pastry chef and from the sea, he stole the shapes of fish, sea urchins, crustaceans, mussels and mollusks. These marzipan pastries came in a variety of such realistic colors that they seemed to be alive, soaking in water, not yet caught. He used to enjoy seeing the faces of his fellow countrymen – the children especially – stuck to the window with their mouths
open while exclaiming “Get out of here, you devil! They look real!”

He would then go to the back of the shop, where his reign was the laboratory. It was 6 o’clock and the dim morning light was coming through the window. Trovato was already wearing his apron and flat beret while he was preparing the table with everything he needed: kitchen tools, fresh eggs, white refined sugar, type 00 flour, peeled almonds from Avola (the best in the world), unsweetened cocoa powder from Modica and vanilla beans. “I guess that’s everything” he would say starring at the table with his hands on the hips. At that moment, the day broke; one could tell it by the intense sunbeams reflecting off the table and the subtle aroma diffusing throughout the room while softly flooding out into the streets, a stunning and bewitching aroma, more charming than a woman’s perfume.

A group of bold young apprentice chefs and ice-cream men, 1918. Foreground: Francesco Trovato, wearing a paper boat hat.

Sede Legale:
Via Menza, 16 – 95126 Catania – Italy

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