In less than twenty minutes from now, the first residents of Noto will come to sit on the terrace of Caffè Sicilia on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Noto for their coffee and a brioche with granita.
There are two kinds of people here in Noto, those who start their day with a brioche and the almond granita, and those who start their day with a brioche and a lemon granita. Some have been coming here all their lives and remember eating an ice cream on the terrace with their parents or grandparents.
Later in the morning, when the tourists arrive in the village, it will be hard to get a table. Visitors from all over the world come to caress their palates with the granitas, pastries with bergamot and pepper, or almond biscuits with chocolate. Caffè Sicilia is no ordinary café and patisserie but a destination, the Sancta Sanctorum of the Italian pasticceria.
"We have been pastry chefs for four generations. Our way of making pastries starts in the countryside. It always has."
Caffè Sicilia, Noto, Italy
Corrado grew up in Noto and the kitchen of Caffè Sicilia, owned by his aunt, was his playground. After secondary school he moved to Bologna to study agriculture at the university and there he met entomologist Giorgio Celli, who taught him the language of bees. But not long afterwards, even before he had finished his degree, he returned to his birthplace of Noto, ‘called by the land’, to work in the family patisserie Caffè Sicilia.
Alain Ducasse, the renowned French cuisinier with more than twenty restaurants and a total of twenty-one Michelin stars, declared Corrado to be the greatest pastry chef in the world. It fills Corrado with pride, but he is not driven by fame or the quest for Michelin stars. Corrado’s quest is for pure flavours and the preservation of them, the tastes of his childhood.
Corrado is more than just a famous pastry chef. He is also an agronomist, who sees that climate change and industrial farming are leading to a loss of both biodiversity and flavour.
His latest project is Caffè Sicilia’s farm, on land that has been in his family for generations. From an organic perspective this is virgin land, and here he will grow his Romana almonds, apricots, olives, Amarena cherries, figs and other ingredients. We film Corrado on his own land, where he reveals his true motivations.
"It’s the fruit of an idea, a wish, a daydream.To show, first to ourselves, and then to our customers and via them to all the world, that it's possible to produce high quality food."
"It's our contribution to try and add new value, now in the 21st century to a great agricultural heritage made up of culture, knowledge and experience but also of earth, of the soil itself, and of our climate."
"Today, global warming is changing everything. It rains less and less and the drought is felt more and more. We need to rebuild the relationship between man and earth."
"We can count on getting great raw materials from this soil of ours. And it will be great to close the circle: Offering clients of Caffè Sicilia the quality of raw materials grown ourselves transformed into food in the laboratory of Caffè Sicilia."
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Resilience Food Stories is a storytelling platform by Ruud Sies and Hanneke van Hintum in partnership with Koppert.
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