The frutta di Martorana, fruits of Martorana, is one of the oldest sweet prepared with marzipan and it is so appreciated in Sicily that it is also called pasta reale, royal paste.
These beautiful fruits, a traditional gifts for children on the All Souls’ day, adorn the multitude of pastry shops and confectionaries that exist in Palermo and in other Sicilian towns. Beautifully coloured and very tasty, they faithfully reproduce the traditional fruits of Sicily such as figs, prickly pears, oranges, lemons, chestnuts, almonds etc. Each maitre patissier tries his best to obtain the most appealing shapes and colours.
According to the tradition their history is rooted in the Norman Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio in Palermo, where in 1193 a convent was founded by the noblewoman Eloisia Martorana. The Benedictine nuns living in the convent were making this marzipan sweets reproducing all the beautiful fruits from their orchard. They were so famous that the “pasta reale” started to be made also for the royal family and the aristocracy. Lately in the 19th century it became a more bourgeois and secular tradition and this is what we know and enjoy every year on the 2nd od November.
Another good reason to visit Sicily in autumn.