Cannoli are generally recognized as a delicious dessert. They’re as Sicilian as it gets, which is to say originally Arabic, then adopted and perfected by the melodramatic people of that arid paradise. This confection sailed through South Street Seaport (Pre-Ellis Island) and parked on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, where it continues today with a few extant Italian bakeries. Cannolo, as they’re known in Palermo, Sicily, are deep fried pastry piped full of sweetened cheese and topped with other delights.
The Sicilian-ish island of my birth, Staten Island, is the place to go for semi-authentic cannoli these days. Come Christmas and Easter, the two times each year when paisanas like myself are compelled to return to the nest, the lines at these bakeries are sometimes hours long. And as Sicilians were pioneers of organized crime—including rum running and heroin dispensing pizzerias—it makes sense to lace Sicilian treats with the most-consumed illegal substance since alcohol prohibition: cannabis.
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