Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History

840 Words4 Pages
Another prevalent Italian dessert derived from almonds is entitled, the cassata. This delicious, delicate cake is a Sicilian dessert consisting of sugar blended with sheep ricotta, royal paste (consisting of almond flour and sugar), sponge cake, and candied fruit. This dessert was entrenched during the oppression and superiority of the Arabs between the 9th and 11th century. While the Arabs asserted their dominance, they also introduced lemons, oranges, and sugar cane which all over time became staples within the Sicilian food culture. Much of these ingredients were primarily developed in the South of Italy, as well as almonds, to create the cassata. According to Alberto Capatti and Missimo Montanari, “this marked an important shift and along…show more content…
They write, “the view that Italian contact with Arabic culture had an influence on the revival of the taste for sweet and sour seems sustained by some of the recipes found in fourteenth century textbooks. These recipes, either known or to be thought to be of Arabic derivation, including limonia and romaia, both of which are characterized by the use of almonds, citrus fruits, and specifically the juice of oranges described as ‘bitter sweet.” The ingredients that the Arabs introduced to the Italian food culture eventually connected and formed dishes of their own, incorporating staples that Italians have had for years such as wine. Capatti and Montanari give their audience an example by comparing this idea to a recipe, scapece. This dish incorporates fried fish that has been preserved in vinegar, which poses as a model for the words of Capatti and Montanari, and displays the growing taste for sweetness that occurred in the Middle Ages. The writers then go on to write, “spices and almonds are then missed with wine and a small quantity of vinegar, used in moderation, so that it will not be too…show more content…
The fresh green nuts are picked and eaten directly from trees in June and July. Around this time of year the almond is encased in a solid, fruity skin that can be illustrated as fuzzy and pale green. On the inside of this thick skin is the ingredient that is incorporated in so many dishes worldwide. When one breaks open the hard shell, one can find a white almond seed that can be split open to serve for the next meal. Almonds that are sold in Northern Europe are commonly harvested in Italy in August. These almonds, specifically, are the nuts that are to be cleaned and stored later for dishes such as rice pudding, salty snacks, and even chocolate cakes for those who use almonds instead of wheat

More about Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History

Open Document