Cannoli is Sicily's best known sweet or dolce. A wafer tube filled with a cream of ricotta cheese with sugar, pistachio nuts and dried fruit.
These delicious Italian desserts are made from a pastry that is pre-cooked in the oven to give it a crispy texture. It is then filled with heavily sugared ricotta cheese, pistacchio nuts and dried fruit or 'frutta candida'. Not to everyone's taste but very distinctive. Its sister sweet 'cassata' was again introduced by the Arabs.
Carnival time in Sicily is an excuse to eat lots of 'cannoli' and the best place to find them is at the 'Sagra del Cannolo' at Piana degli Albanesi, province of Palermo.
We are told Piana degli Albanesi makes the best on the island due to the Greek Albanian twist reflecting the town's 'etno-antropologica' past and at a recent event they produced the biggest cannolo in the world. How do we know this? Because it was given official recognition by the "Guinness Book of Records" who had been invited along.
The cannolo measured exactly 4 metres, 3 centimetres and 4 millimetres. The moment of truth had such an effect on the general populace that RAI broadcast the news during the Bologna - Inter football match that was being played at the time.
The supercannollo was produced by 'pasticiere' Giorgio Clesceri, his wife and many volunteers who also included the wife of the mayor of Piana degli Albanesi.
Next year, the participants hope to smash the 5 meter barrier with an even longer wafer tube filled with cream of ricotta cheese, sugar, pistacchio nuts and dried fruit.
To make this year's version the cannolo needed 15 kg of flour, 2 kg sugar, more than 120 kg of ricotta cheese, 15kg of chocolate drops and 5kg of dried fruit
Once the record was theirs the crowd carried the cannolo in triumph around the local piazza while local comedian Sasà Selvaggio told related gags and Mario Giglio and the famed Orchestra Siciliana serenaded the sweet.
The event finished with the cannolo being served up in smaller portions to over 10,000 people.
The authorities also used the event to promote the idea of a "marchio di tutela" for Sicilian cannoli, in effect a badge of quality which will distinguish inferior cannoli from the real thing. All in all, a triumph.