Though delicious pastries are tempting you virtually everywhere you travel in Sicily, when you explore (and taste) a bit more you’ll find that not all pasticcerias are alike.

Nino at Pasticceria L'Alhambra

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nino Berizia, owner of Pasticceria L’Alhambra in Linguaglossa, a small village in Sicily’s Mount Etna region. From the way he learned his craft, to the high quality ingredients he uses, to the attention he gives to every step in his process, Nino is part of a fine Sicilian pastry-making tradition passed down to him by many generations.

Watching Nino make pastries is like watching a master sculptor create a piece of art. He moves so smoothly and quickly it looks easy but shaping almond and hazelnut paste into hundreds of uniquely different, perfectly formed cookies every day takes tremendous patience and countless years of practice. Nino explains that when his father-in-law, Mariano Barone, taught him how to make traditional Sicilian pastries he would stand on the other side of the stainless steel table and just watch him work…for two years. And I don’t think he’s kidding. The art of making Sicilian pastry is a serious business.

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After studying with a master pastry chef in Ionia, Sicily (now Giarre and Riposto), Mariano Barone and his seven brothers started Pasticceria L’Alhambra in Linguaglossa in 1939. Mariano had one daughter, Rosaria, and she and her husband Nino ultimately took over L’Alhambra along with Nino’s brother Salvatore. Nino says his father-in-law Mariano had a certain philosophy about life and work. He told Nino,

“Before you leave this earth, it’s important to contribute something new. Something you can leave behind for people to appreciate and enjoy.”

For Pasticceria L’Alhambra, that something was… Continue Reading on Mungibeddu’s Table →