Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's melancholic masterpiece, Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), is laced with sumptuous period details, sensual passages bringing to life the Prince of Salina's lavish meals (and appetite for sugary treats) being amongst the most vivid. For the unabashedly sweet-toothed, Sicily must seem like a spiritual home - where else do people breakfast on granita, accompanied by a warm sweet brioche and washed down with a potent little espresso?
Sadly, time did not permit a visit to any of the few remaining convents where nuns prepare traditional sweetmeats for sale through a girandola (a revolving wheel used to pass goods without having to actually open the cloister to the secular world). Nonetheless, we made a daily pilgrimmage to Pasticceria Etna, the splendid bakery located along the main drag of Corso Umberto in Taormina. The raven-haired signorina behind the counter, fortunately, seemed rather amused by our insatiable appetite and curiosity.