The flavors of the Sagra delle Teste di Turco of Scicli in SicilyMarch 22, 2013
Every year on the last Saturday of May, in the town of Scicli in Sicily, it's held the Sagra delle Teste di Turco, on the occasion of the Festa della Madonna delle Milizie, the patron saint of the city, which is celebrated during the last week of May. The testa di turco (turkish head) is the typical cake of Scicli and has its origin precisely from the battle that inspired the holiday.
During the Sagra delle Teste di Turco, these cakes are offered to visitors with a glass of local Moscato. The purpose of the event, sponsored by the patisseries of Scicli in collaboration with the territorial CNA, is to promote sicilian sweets.
The testa di turco is so called because it is shaped as an Arabic turban, and it's filled with custard or sweet ricotta. It is usually consumed after the annual theatrical re-enactment, which is held on the last Saturday of the month of May. It's a kind of an ideological trophy, also known as 'trophy of the losers' because it owes its paternity to those Arabs who introduced the practice of confectionery during the period of their invasion.
The Festa della Madonna delle Milizie originates from the Norman victory over the Saracens, that took place in 1091, resulting in the release of Scicli. Legend has it that on a night of March of that year the final and decisive battle against the invaders was fought . When it seemed that the fate of the inhabitants of Scicli was marked, there was the miracle of the apparition of Madonna delle Milizie, dressed in a red corset, a blue cloak and a gold crown on her head. The Madonna came riding a white horse and brandishing a sword in her right hand, to help Christians and driving away the infidel Saracens. History or legend? Probably a bit of both.
If you'd like to spend a holiday near Scicli in Sicily, take a look at WeVillas's proposals: http://www.wevillas.com/sicily.html