Breakfast in Sicily: lots of sweet and savory ideas

There is good food in Sicily, anywhere and at any time of the day. From breakfast to after-dinner, you can enjoy many different dishes on the Island, sure to satisfy even the most demanding palates. 

Breakfast is a ritual in Sicily: here are all the delicacies you can enjoy during your stay on the Island for a superlative and mouth-watering start to the day, whether you are a sweet breakfast lover or prefer a savory one instead!

Brioche with granita

The most famous summer breakfast in Sicily is definitely the classic “brioche con il tuppo“, a soft and fragrant leavened egg dough accompanied by a fresh and very sweet granita. The latter is a proper Sicilian dessert, which should not be confused with the granitas found in the rest of Italy. 

Sicilian granita is made from water, sugar and extract of the main ingredient, which will then give the dessert its flavor. 

Paired with a brioche, you can have a fresh and mouth-watering granita made with pistachio, coffee or even almonds, just to name a few of the most popular flavors. When served, tear off a piece from the brioche and dunk it into your granita, a truly exquisite and luscious combination that will give you the right charge to get your Sicilian day off to the best possible start! As an alternative to “brioscia con il tuppo”, following tradition, you can eat the granita with some fresh, crusty bread.

Cannolo

As an alternative to brioche with granita, you can opt to enjoy a nice traditional Sicilian dessert for breakfast as well. So let’s start with what is considered to be the king of Sicilian pastries: the cannolo. Well known-and appreciated around the world, the cannolo can boast centuries of history. A cannolo is made from a fried wafer of dough, made with wheat flour, Marsala, sugar and lard. Discs are made from the dough, which are first rolled onto small metal tubes and then fried.

Inside, the cannolo is stuffed with a tasty filling of sheep’s milk ricotta, sifted and sweetened. Everything is topped with dark chocolate chips, candied fruit or dried fruit grains, such as pistachios. Finally, the cannolo is served with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar.

The cannolo was initially prepared on Carnival Day, but today it can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Cassata

Another traditional Sicilian dessert is the cassata. It can be found in single-portion version as well, so it can be easily enjoyed for breakfast in a good pastry shop. It is a dessert made of sponge cake, fresh sheep’s milk ricotta, almond paste, sugar icing and candied fruit decorations.

Such decorations make cassata a truly scenic and colorful dessert. Of course, there is no shortage of local variations, but this delicacy can be enjoyed in every corner of Sicily.

Iris

Iris is a typical dessert from Palermo but, with some variations, it can be found all over the island. It is a fried leavened dough, spherical in shape that encloses a mouth-watering filling of sweet ricotta cream and chocolate.

In the Catania area the variant with pistachio, chocolate and ricotta is widespread. A baked version can also be found.

Iris owes its name to the play of the same name: in 1901, Palermo pastry chef Antonio Lo Verso prepared this dessert on the occasion of the premiere of the opera Iris, by Pietro Mascagni. This delicacy was very successful, so much so that even today it is one of the most popular desserts among Sicilians and tourists.

Macallè

“Cartoccio di ricotta” is also known on the Island as Macallè. Its origins date back to the 1600s. It is a fried dessert made from very soft brioche dough, shaped like a cannoli. Macallè is filled with sweetened sheep’s milk ricotta, often enriched with tasty chocolate chips. It is typical of the Palermo area but is commonly made throughout Sicily.

In addition to ricotta Macallé, you can also enjoy the variant with custard.

Ricotta raviole

Ricotta raviole are a delicious traditional dessert from Catania, eaten mainly for breakfast. They are fried crescents filled with soft ricotta cream. A simple but incredibly delicious dessert.

Once fried, they are sprinkled with plenty of powdered sugar to add to their deliciousness!

Savory breakfasts

The culinary heritage showcased by Sicily is rich and varied. If you are not so fond of sweets, then here are plenty of savory suggestions for your breakfast! Sicilian street food offers countless alternatives to the typical desserts listed above.

If you have breakfast late in the morning, then enjoy a delicious arancino in the Catania area, or a mouth-watering arancina, if you are in the Palermo area. Famous all over the world, it is a fried ball of saffron rice with meat sauce and peas or cold cuts inside. It can be found in different variations, such as al burro or even alla Norma, with eggplant inside.

Alternatively, you can decide to enjoy a delicious cartocciata or cipollina, if you are in Catania. Cartocciate catanesi are a specialty of Sicilian rotisserie and can be fully closed or partially open, with the filling showing through at both ends. They are stuffed with ham and cheese, tomato and mozzarella, spinach or potatoes. Cipolline also are very famous in the Catania area: they are a soft, fragrant puff pastry shell stuffed with ham, tomato pulp, cheese and onions.

If you are in Palermo, however, you can enjoy a piece of excellent sfincione, perhaps freshly baked. The sfincione has a spongy, soft and fluffy base, hence the name. It is topped with a generous amount of tomato sauce, onions, caciocavallo cheese, anchovies, oregano and breadcrumbs.

Finally, if you are staying in the Ragusa area, you may decide to have breakfast with a tasty scaccia. The scaccia is a baked good from the province of Ragusa. It is a typical street food of the popular gastronomic tradition and consists of toppings of different types placed between two or more layers of bread-like dough, with different variations according to different areas.

And now, enjoy your breakfast!

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