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Agorà la Cantina
March 6, 2021
Noto Antica
March 13, 2021
All photos © Franco Neri

CannoloTherapy, a state of pleasure

Siracusa, like all cities, is covered with large billboards that once were the peak of advertising campaigns. Rarely - sometimes - you'll see a billboard that stands out because of its slightly outdated graphics and the photo of a smiling man with white hair and multicoloured glasses, next to a strange word: CannoloTherapy.
He is Franco Neri, the frontman of a sort of extended family that bears the name of the founder, Alfio, and that revolves around his pastry shop, a short walk from the Archeological Museum and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, a place where journalists and artists share meetings, debates and cultural afternoons.
CannoloTherapy is its banner, and is what has helped it be known in Italy and abroad. Franco is simultaneously volcanic and phlegmatic, he’s ironic but turns serious when he talks about CannoloTherapy. “CannoloTherapy is a state of mind, an idea of wellness - he answers, in a professional tone - our visitors don’t walk into a cafe, they walk into our home, we welcome them and help them feel at ease without any hurry, lest they lose the joy of being together”.
CannoloTherapy is a marketing idea that has been transformed into a ritual, one that is celebrated with the pastry that symbolises Sicily, the cannolo, and with the Moscato wine from Siracusa, probably one of the oldest Greek wines to be imported to Sicily. "His Majesty, the cannolo", obviously, is at the heart of the ritual: with excellent ricotta which varies, depending on the season, between that made from sheep’s milk to cow’s milk, in a moderately sweetened mixture. Massimo, the family’s pastry chef, prepares a delicious cream, which fills a crunchy shell prepared with Moscato wine from Siracusa which also accompanies the sampling. The ritual has a set of rules which are must be applied rigorously, the first of which is that the cannolo must always be prepared on the spot, even when there’s a queue, because the sound as you bite the crisp pastry opens the taste-buds; the second is that the cannolo must never be followed by coffee, which would ruin its sacred taste. Then again, all types of therapy have their own rules!
CannoloTherapy expresses an idea of hospitality that presents the cafe as a space for conversation where you can describe, in a minute or an hour, how the pastry represents celebration, self-recognition, gratification, pleasure in giving beautiful and enjoyable things. That's why they began to develop a product that could travel well, and act as an ambassador for the area of Siracusa: after three years they found the right balance and started to makee a “soft and elegant amber-coloured desert rose, which holds a precious almond amongst its precious curls” (a quote from the magazine “L’assaggio”, “The taste”), the Perla di Mandorla al Moscato di Siracusa doc, a sweet made with almonds from Avola, Moscato from Siracusa, honey from the Hyblean Hills, the lemon from Siracusa.
To celebrate the savoury flavours of Sicily too, the arancino(a), CannoloTherapy has its own 'gold' version: first an arancino(a) with Nero d’Avola wine, followed by a cannolo and sweet Moscato from Siracusa. With the right timing, it doubles the pleasure.
Febbraio 2021

Una vita passata a raccontare storie con le parole, la penna, la macchina per scrivere, il computer, l’obiettivo. L’ultima in ordine di tempo, nel libro Il patrimonio degli equivoci. Allarme beni culturali in Sicilia. Non ho resistito all’idea di guidare SiracusaCulture, di cui sono Direttore responsabile.