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Monday, December 18, 2017

Catania, Sicily (Italy): The Search For Saint Agatha's Breasts ("Minnuzzi Ri Sant'Àjita" in Sicilian)

I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza
Piazza San Placido 7
95131 Catania
Italy
Phone: +39 095 7151844
Website: dolcinonnavincenza.it
Prices: €€€

If you are looking for "Saint Agatha's tits" (sorry, I am not making this up and am quoting directly - they are called "minnuzzi ri Sant'Àjita" in Sicilian dialect), you must visit the "best pasticceria" (pastry shop) in Catania, I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza
"Saint Agatha" By Francisco de Zurbarán - Web Gallery of Art: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1112906. Obtained on 12/18/2017.




In a nondescript building in a piazza just off of Via Vittorio Emanuele (they actually have four locations in Catania), my Sicilian wife was looking for Minnuzzi di Sant'Agata (aka St. Agatha's tits - it's a long story), a Catanese specialty, to take to her relatives in Erice (near Trapani). 
Church in the Piazza with Orange Tree (December)
I mean no disrespect as I am only telling you the story of Saint Agatha's breasts as told by Sicilians. The short version being that Saint Agatha's breasts were torn from her body during her martyrdom and she is now the patron saint of breast cancer patients as well as Mount Etna. The Catania Duomo (cathedral) is also named after this 3rd Century saint. How the tradition of cakes in the shape of breasts and fondly called "St Agatha's Tits" (translated from Sicilian dialect) came to be is unknown by me or any of the locals I talked to.

The ricotta filled pastries bearing her name actually look like a lovely white breast, red nipple and all. You can apparently only get these extremely sweet pasties, I mean pastries, during the Christmas season and around her name day (February 5th). The filling is sweet ricotta and covered by an extremely sweet sugar-based shell, topped with a red confection in the shape of a nipple. If you eat them the right way, like a pizza, with more filling than sugary shell, they are actually quite tasty. After all, I never tasted a tit I did not like (sorry Saint Agatha, I could not help myself).
Anyway, back to I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza ...

The shop, which was recommended and known by every local we talked to, sits on the side of a piazza and looks quite small, even smaller as you first walk in. But if you walk up the stairs to your left, you enter the first large room filled with cookies and candies. Go around the corner to the next big room filled with cakes and St. Agatha's breasts, both large and small.
At €2.50 ($3) a pop, St. Agatha's breasts are not a cheap treat. It is, reportedly, the "best" pasticceria in Catania, but the prices I saw were rather high and not a "great value" in my eyes.
"Olivette", in commemoration of St. Agatha eating olives while fleeing from Roman soldiers
CombatCritic Gives I Dolco Di Nonna Vincenza 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Breasts, I Mean Bombs, Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

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Title: Catania, Sicily (Italy): The Search For Saint Agatha's Tits ("Minnuzzi Ri Sant'Àjita" in Sicilian)

Key Words: Catania, Sicily, Italy, Saint Agatha, tits, breasts, Dolci di Nonna Vincenza, Minnuzzi ri Sant'Àjita, Sicilian, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, business, review, Nonna Vincenza, nonna, Vincenza, pasticceria


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