It is a sweet delicacy tasted all over Sicily, and Trapani is no exception. Renowned the world over, the Sicilian cassata does not have anything to do with the sticky, sugary sweets which try in vain to imitate its characteristics. The cassata is actually a conscious balance of tastes, the result of additions and alterations which took place over the centuries. It is for this reason that the cassata is not only a sweet, but also a harbinger of the cultural influences which have enriched the island’s cuisine heritage. Its roots strike deep between the 9th and 11th centuries, when the Arabs brought the almond to Sicily, as well as the citron, lemon, bitter orange, tangerine and cane sugar. Its name actually seems to be derived from the Arabic qas’at (round bowl, small basin). It is said that its first version was produced by the Emir’s cooks in Palermo who indulged themselves in mixing sheep ricotta with cane sugar and wrap up everything in an envelope of bread dough, bringing together tastes which go against each other, in the best tradition of Saracen cuisine. In the Norman period, about the end of 1100, the nuns at Palermo created the pasta reale, a very sweet paste of flour, almonds and sugar which substituted original envelope. When the Spaniards came to Sicily they introduced further changes: chocolate, mixed in drops with the ricotta, and, naturally, the spongecake (pan di Spagna). Yet the last touch came with Baroque opulence which, passing on into this sweet through the rich decorations of candied fruit, changed the cassata’s appearance completely, giving colour to it and making it sumptuous as we see it today.