Maria Grammatico is the most famous Sicilian sweet and pastry authority. Going up the street in the Baroque hilltop town of Erice, high above Trapani, one can immediately smell the ancient aromas and flavors coming alive through her pastry shop and cafe'. Thanks to the skillful art of Maria Grammatico, a wide range of old Sicilian recipes for cakes, almond pastries and traditional specialties have been documented and are still being produced today.
Thanks to our dear friend, American writer Mary Taylor Simeti, Maria Grammatico tells her childhood story in "Bitter Almonds". Immediately after World War II, Maria Grammatico entered the convent of San Carlo in Erice. Despite the very hard life, Maria was able to learn the "secret" art of pastry making in the ancient kitchens of the cloistered nuns who sold pastries in order to sustain the convent. It is thanks to her passion and Mary's writing that we can still taste the delicious almond pastries made just like five centuries ago. In this compelling book Maria remembers her youth and her early work experiences that will make her famous throughout the world thanks to her fine art of pastry making. Together with Mary's meticulous research and writing, Maria shares with us some of her famous recipes, as she had "stolen" from the cloistered nuns of the San Carlo convent in Erice.