These delicious marzipan sweets that perfectly reproduce vegetables and fruits are an expression of great gastronomic creativity.
They are elegantly placed in wicker baskets and wooden boxes , which feature in nearly every Sicilian pastry shop windows, especially during the Festival of the Dead on November 2, but also throughout the year.
The Frutta Martorana is no doubt a creation of the nuns of The Martorana. This cloister was founded in Palermo in 1899 by Eloisa Martorana. However, there are legends surrounding the history of these tiny Sicilian culinary gems.
According to the legend, the nuns waited for a distinguished visitor in the Middle Ages: the Archbishop from Palermo (or Emperor Carlo V according to another version). To impress their guest, the nuns decided to make marzipan fruits and hang them from trees in the convent’s lush gardens because the trees were unusually empty. It was a huge success, and the Frutta Martorana Cloister has been named after it ever since.
Legends aside, the sweet remains in the Sicilian confectionery tradition. It tickles every tastebud and fantasy, 500 years after its invention.