Mamma Andrea’s ‘little sins’ are truly delicious …

23 January, 2010

There are a number of tiny workshops scattered through Palermo’s historic centre – for the most part  humble little premises where you can watch traditional papier mache’ toys being made and painted, or wood being turned to produce spinning tops or candlesticks.  Then there is Andrea de Cesare’s ‘I Peccatucci di Mamma Andrea’ (which translates as something like ‘Mamma Andrea’s delicious little sins’), a little shop which is now more upmarket, but has the same origins: a little workshop established in the centre of the city.      

At ‘I Peccatucci di Mamma Andrea’, you will find, all beautifully presented, new versions of traditional Sicilian sweets, as well as jams, honeys, preserved fruits and liquors.   

For me, the name ‘Mamma Andrea’ conjured up an image of an elderly Sicilian woman, rotund and aproned,  who spent most of her time in the kitchen.  Not at all an apt image for Andrea, I have discovered!  She became a ‘mamma’ for the first time when she was only 16, and is now a stylish and successful entrepreneur.   

Andrea started life working in the theatre designing sets and costumes, hence her interest in, and concentration on, the presentation of her products.  In 1989, she changed careers and set up a small workshop in the centre of Palermo, making traditional Sicilian confectionery.  Gradually, she was given more and more traditional recipes that had been handed down by people’s mothers  and grandmothers .  She worked with these  recipes to create new products that embodied the cultural richness of Sicily and made use of the raw ingredients that are available here. 

‘I Peccatucci di Mamma Andrea’ is now a stylish little shop in the centre of town, looking onto the gardens of Piazza Ignazio Florio.  It is full of ‘homemade’ sweet morsels and chocolates, including my favourite candied oranges coated in dark chocolate.  Rows of jams, some without added sugar and sweetened only with agave juice; a range of honeys, including thyme, lemon, red clover and chestnut; various fruits preserved in wine without any artificial preservatives; and a range of traditional Sicilian liquors, from rose or lemon to prickly pear.  “A small sip of one of these liquors after lunch”, says Andrea “will help the digestion”.  The products are all beautifully labelled and presented – and difficult to resist!

5 Responses to “Mamma Andrea’s ‘little sins’ are truly delicious …”

  1. Antonio Says:

    Mouthwatering!

    I shared your mental picture of Mamma Andrea, Kate!! She sounds a fascinating lady. I will not pass the shop again without a visit. It is interesting, in the light of your Liberty Villa item, that her shop is in Piazza Ignazio Florio.

  2. CateM Says:

    Mmmm Mamma Andrea’s delicacies look and sound irresistible! A must for next time…

  3. Caryl Says:

    Just one more reason to visit Palermo – to sample one of those wonderful liquors after lunch! – the produce looks so beautifully presented too.


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