The Sicilian-Swiss Pastry Shop: Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera

3 Oct

I can’t let too much time pass without highlighting yet another great little pasticceria here in the Eternal City. This one cracks me up because it bills itself as the “Sicilian-Swiss” pastry shop, for reasons completely unknown to me (Swiss wife? Swiss-Sicilian parents?), and yet, upon a thorough inspection of the shop, I didn’t see anything I could consider “Swiss.” Ale helpfully offered, “Sacher Torte?” and I reminded him of its Viennese origins. So, anyone who has been here and can help me understand the Swiss part of the bakery is welcome to enlighten us all.

Despite that seeming misnomer, they cover the Sicilian part quite well. Almost too well, actually. For example, who exactly needs to be buying marzipan corn cobs?

I’ve never claimed to be a culinary expert, so my knowledge is quite scarce as to how one might employ such a treat. However, rest assured that if you are in desperate need of Sicilian “frutta martorana,” this pastry shop has you well-covered. Witness just a few of the fruit flavors:

On this site, legend has it that

…in Palermo at the “Martorana” convent, from which arrives the origin of its name, the nuns were waiting for the visit of an illustrious prelate and to decorate the garden they thought of replacing all the fruits that had already been picked with the marzipan sweets that had the shape and colour of oranges, mandarins and lemons: it was a great success.

Wow, it’s like a Catholic version of Willy Wonka! I wonder if the aforementioned “illustrious prelate” blew up into a big blueberry or got to try some fizzy lifting drink?

(For some great shots of frutta martorana from a pasticceria in Sicily, check out Ms. Adventures in Italy’s post on frutta martorana here.)

Well, if marzipan fruits and veggies aren’t really your thing, you can always go for the trusted standby of il cannolo siciliano:

That would be him and his buddies on the right there, amidst a selection of pasticcini (or as they call them here, “dolcini mignon”) that basically circles the entire place. Just a peek at a few:

There’s also a decent selection of “prodotti tipici,” typical food products from Sicily, as well as typical biscotti like these:

I have to say, although I’ve never had the pleasure of trying “Tetù,” the name gets a gold star in my book.

We went in on a Sunday because we were on our way to lunch with the fam, and bearing gifts such as pasticcini is a time-honored ritual. Hence the Sunday crowd, all with the same idea in mind:

We made off with this lovely package (I am definitely digging the 60s style wrapping—I think they ordered a massive supply when they first opened in 1965 and are still using it):

And–surprise! Here’s what we found inside:

Smiles were had by all. Perhaps not as much as would have happened had one of us expanded into a giant blueberry (note the lack of frutta martorana on our tray), but a delightful experience nonetheless.

Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera, Piazza Pio XI 10, (Tel. 06 6374974)
A note to tourists: this is off the beaten path for the normal tourist areas, but you can get there with bus 571 or 916


25 Responses to “The Sicilian-Swiss Pastry Shop: Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy October 3, 2007 at 11:17 am #

    Wow…we seem to have had mind-meld again today (the last time was with…watermelon??) All, we did NOT plan these posts! Crazy.

    I remember when you pointed this place out from the car…yum!

  2. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 3, 2007 at 11:25 am #

    OMG, so funny, I just saw your blog… have to do a bit o’ link love here… Ms. ESP in Italy/blog.

  3. Buda Baby October 3, 2007 at 1:27 pm #

    That looks scrumptious! I just got back from Palermo and am a cannoli convert! And learning that the filling is half ricotta and half sugar only made me love it more. Can you explain cannoli versus cannolo? Is it singluar/plural?

  4. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 3, 2007 at 1:31 pm #

    Buda Baby: Yep, you got it: cannolo=1, cannoli=more than one. Il cannolo, i cannoli.

  5. sognatrice October 3, 2007 at 1:50 pm #

    Yum. Even the corn on the cob looks good 😉

    On the Svizzera part, my guess is that someone in the family emigrated/lived up there for a while and/or has a spouse from there; it’s pretty common in my Calabrian village that everyone has at least one relative who lives in Switzerland–along with Germany, it was one of the most popular emigration destinations from the south back in the 1950s and 1960s–about the time they got those nifty wrappers, it seems 😉

    In fact, every now and again a bus load of people from my village head up there to visit relatives and friends because there are so many concentrated in one area (and vice versa). Could be that Sicily has a similar history, although I don’t know for sure.

  6. Stacy October 3, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    Man – that looks so good. I am so looking forward to those pastry shops when I move. hehe AND there are several Sicilian specialties I cant wait to try. YUM

  7. nyc/caribbean ragazza October 3, 2007 at 3:41 pm #

    Yet another place for me to try out. Love the wrapping paper…it’s so old school.

  8. Kit October 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm #

    I’m salivating and frustrated – there is nothing like an Italian pasticceria here in South Africa and I miss those delicious morsels of Sunday sweetness.

  9. Farfallina ... October 3, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    Too delicious!

    It’s so cute, you’re right! both of you are gifted with ESP 🙂 synchronized posting 🙂

  10. Janavi October 3, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    Looks fabulous! Luckily I have a 100 yr old Italian pasticceria around the corner (obviously not as wonderful as this one,but it will do) & I’m on my way right now. Beautiful photos.

  11. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 3, 2007 at 11:38 pm #

    Just by coincidence, we were in this area today and looking for a gelateria, so we decided to stop in here for gelato. Actually we wanted to sit outside at one of the tables. We waited like 15 minutes, maybe even 20, and were told like three times after going inside to ask, that someone would “be right out.” The place was empty with three employees who were doing nothing, and one outside on a smoke break. We finally got up and left. We hate bad service, even though here in Rome it can be more typical, still, when it’s that excessive, forget it, not like there aren’t other gelaterie in Rome! So beware… I’d stick to this place for trays of pasticcini or Sicilian prodotti tipici only…

  12. finnyknits October 4, 2007 at 12:28 am #

    That really looks good. Like I could go on a very detrimental binge there. How many of you were eating that tray of desserts? I bet I could put a tray down on my own – muhuhahahah!

  13. Jul October 4, 2007 at 1:39 am #

    Hmmm… is it a particularly clean, safe, and efficient pasticceria? 🙂

  14. pina October 4, 2007 at 1:49 am #

    oh! how i wished i lived in italy!!

  15. J.Doe October 4, 2007 at 4:06 am #

    I’ve never seen Corn on the Cob marzipan before!

  16. Gil October 4, 2007 at 9:29 am #

    Even though marzipan is too sweet for my taste your post has made me hungry!

  17. KC October 4, 2007 at 9:48 am #

    Cruel, cruel woman! Marzipan is my favorite sweet! I’m trying not to gain to much weight and eat sensible foods and then what happens? You and Sara both do posts about marzipan with tantalizing photos. (And of course Judith in Umbria had to post a picture of an almond paste marzipan from Puglia!)
    Well, it won’t be my fault if I need to indulge my marzipan craving now. 😉

  18. KC October 4, 2007 at 9:49 am #

    That was supposed to be “almond paste mortadella from Puglia.” See what all this thinking about marzipan has done to my mind. Cruel, I tell you, it’s nothing but cruel.

  19. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 4, 2007 at 10:27 am #

    KC: Can I break out my evil laugh? MUUUUHAHAHAHAHA!

  20. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 4, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Jul: Great question. I wonder what happens when you mix “Swiss time” with “Sicilian time.” Yesterday when we went for a gelato, they were definitely on “Sicilian time.” Efficiency = zero. On Sundays they’re not too bad though, if you’re ordering pasticcini inside. Maybe they go on Swiss time on Sundays only.

  21. qualcosa di bello October 4, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    that was a tough post to take from eastern NC! i would even settle for one measly marzipan corncob…

    thanks, shelley, for another must-go-to place for our roman holiday…my list is growing, mostly thanks to you! 😀

  22. Cyn October 5, 2007 at 8:31 am #

    I’ll take the canoli and you can have the rest. Deal?


  23. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 5, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    Cyn, this could be a tough one… I always go for the cannoli first…

  24. Robert October 9, 2007 at 11:52 pm #

    I know this place quite well – I usually pop in to drool over their offerings whenever I am in Rome (conveniently it is around the corner from the hotel I stay at if not staying with friends).

    They are also the only place I know of in Rome that sells Buccellato – though only by the ring, not by the slice, which makes it a touch expensive (but still worth it).

  25. omar belquacem February 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Mr Omar Belquacem
    1975 NO 653 CASA 14003
    Tél. : +212 022 37 34 77
    Mobile. : +212 061 94 77 02
    Dear sir,The Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera.
    I am writing to apply for a position as a pastry cook; I am enclosing a completed job application, and my resume.
    I believe that my strong technical experience and education will make me a very competitive candidate for this position. The key strengths that I possess for success in this position include among others:
    • I strive for continued excellence.
    • I provide exceptional contributions to customer service.
    • I am a serious and well-behaved person.
    With an extended professional experience of more than ten years in different domains of pastry and my organizational, managerial and problem-solving abilities, I have a full understanding of the job requirements. I also have experience in learning and excelling at new types of pastry as needed.
    Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.
    I can be reached anytime via my cell phone, +212 061 94 77 02. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.
    Born: 17/05/1974
    Kasar Labhar 2 Av 6 Nov 1975 N°653C D CASA
    TEL: 21261-94-77-02 / 21222-37-34-77
    -Pastry cook diploma
    – Participation to the club association for world cup of pastry in Morocco.
    – Participation to the second festival of the art of cooking.
    – 7 years working pastry at « BARJA »
    – 3 years working pastry at « OUSSAMA »

    – Knewledge . Basic postries and bosic creams.
    – All French cakes
    – The moroccan cookery
    Arabe Fluent
    Berbère Fluent
    Français Fluent
    Anglais Fluent
    pastry. cooking.Sport. Travelling, Reading .

    -For Exemples

    -Basic pastries and basic creams.

    -All hindered paper faille cakes.

    -The entremets.

    -The individuals…

    -The slices.

    -The postés.

    -Basic foams and chocolate vanilla foam…………

    -Chocolate foam white walnut foam and raspberries foam…………eats…………

    -Royal and hazel foam…………eats……………

    -Lemon foam and fruit foam………………

    -Strawberry foam. Sugared almond foam. . Opéra. mozzarella………

    -All sorte cakes……………….

    -Cakes with lemon … cakes with pineapple or sorrow – cakes with bananas.

    -Cherries. Cakes with strew geris. Cakes with pear or strop. Cakes with stromboliens.

    -Cakes with fruit-Cakes with peaches and strop-cakes with apple. Cakes with apricots and strop……………………

    -Cakes with chocolate – brownies with nuts- brownies with pastiche – Madeleine………………………..

    -hot plates- hot chocolats ………..

    -All sorts of pizza………………….

    -Canapés Salmon fumes – canapés eggs sofas – et………….

    -Chase sofa.

    -All sorts of sales including fish, meat, Chicken, Shrimps and so on and so forth.
    -the moroccan cookery-

    Exemples :

    -Couscous with vegetables and hen meat ……….

    -Couscous with date and vegetables ……..

    -Couscous with chicken and onions …….

    -cousons vit méat …………

    -Tagging with chicken. Meat and fish…………

    -all sort of calas……………

    -all sorts of soupes…………..

    -all sorts of pastilla……….

    -all sort of spaghetti………..

    -all sort of sofa. ……….

    -fiche vit the open…………

    -sardine vit potables………..

    -stuffiter caroline………

    -In addition to more recipes……..

    – tank you

    Omar belquacem

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