I’m back in The Motherland.
It’s a work/play trip that includes bringing my parents to the land of our Sicilian ancestors for the first time. My sister and I are English, Irish, French, Italian, Dutch and German mutts, but it’s always been the Sicilian side – via our paternal grandmother – that we identify with most as a family.
While Assenza’s ideas and creations can be otherworldly, he’s a product-sourcing freak. If he can’t do it perfectly, he won’t do it.
His almond gelato not only tastes like an almond in another state, but even has the slight tannic tang from the almond skin along with a mix of minerals and salt in the skin that makes Sicilian almonds unique.
We also try a “Traversata del Deserto” – a cake that includes mint, black tea, lemon rind, sea salt and “lyophilized” (freeze-dried) algae. It’s the kind of thing that Mom would try but stop after one bite.
Instead, she makes a funny grunting noise, almost like she’s disappointed.
“I’m sorry for all the cakes that will come after this in my life.”
Full disclosure: Assenza, who I’ve interviewed and written about in the past, came out to say hello while we were there, but we paid our bill and you can’t bake a cake or make gelato on the fly.
Caffè Sicilia MAP
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125