Coffee between sweet and salty Lillo Freni and Tony Lo Cocco

Whether espresso, in powder or in beans – between sweet and salty notes – it will be Lillo Freni of pastry shop Freni of Messi- na and Tony Lo Coco of Restaurant I Pupi in Bageria (Palermo) to turn it into a protagonist.

In the northeast point of Sicily, precisely in Messina, an old gem of traditional Sicilian confectionery rises up, which has been livening up the greediest palates for more than 60 years. Founder of this workshop was Giuseppe Freni, who decided to give life to a project that would taste of excellence and professionalism, creating the namesake pastry shop in 1968.

Lillo Freni

The father leaves an inheritance in the hands of Lillo, his son, which is symbol for passion for one’s own region and the scents that distinguish it. Thanks to his father’s experience, grand master of arts and life, Lillo manages to learn the techniques, which turn a simple pastry into a mix of goodness and passion. In 2011, he graduates in “Science of Mediterranean Enogastronomy and Health”. Famous face of Alice TV, Lillo Freni also is member of the Ducezio Association that gathers the best Master pastry chefs of Sicily. He could not but offer a summery, fresh and delicious dessert from the land kissed from the sun.

Delicious cup with figs


Ingredients (x 6): 1 kg of whole figs, 100 g orange liqueur, 500 g cream to be whipped, 100 g granulated sugar (for the cream), 10 g coffee powder, 30 g cocoa powder, 10 g Sicilian pistachio flour.

Preparationpeel the figs and cut them in bigger pieces, put them into a bowl and blend them with liqueur; cover with wrap and put in the fridge to macerate for about half an hour. Whip the cold cream by adding granulated sugar from the beginning until a smooth and solid cream is obtained. Pour into the cup (Martini type), a spoonful of figs, coffee powder, a spoonful of whipped cream, repeating the three ingredients for a second layer. Finish the cup with whipped cream, sprinkle with cocoa and decorate with Sicilian pistachio flour.

We are still in the northern part of the island, but moving some kilometre further west, to Bagheria.

Tony Lo Coco

In this town full of history and traditions, chosen by Tornatore as set for his film Baaria, Tony Pupi opens his I Pupi in 2009, cosy design restaurant, where he fulfils his dream together with his wife Laura: cooking in a pleasant context, with the same love one cooks at home for friends and guests. Tony shows his passion for culinary art since he’s little, when his mother and grandmother had a hard time in keeping him away from the cooker. The continuous research of new combinations of raw materials from Sicily’s soil and sea that are always treated with simplicity and respect, award him with a Michelin star, 1 hat of the Espresso guide and two Gambero Rosso forks.

Arancino roulade with black swine of the Nebrodi area and coffee powder


Ingredients (for 4 people): 500 g carnaroli rice, 1 Giarratana onion, 40 g butter, 2 g turmeric, pepper and salt to taste; for the ragout: 500 g Nebrodi black swine, 100 ml espresso, star anise, black pepper and fennel in grains to taste, 100 g tomato concentrate, 300 g tomato datterino type, 100 g celery, 100 g onion, 100 g carrot, nutmeg to taste, 200 g caramelized bread crumbs.

Proceduremarinate the swine for 24 hours with 1 l of water, espresso and spices. Put celery, carrot and onion in a pan, add water and bring to the boil. Pan-roast the rice with chopped onions in a copper saucepan, spume and cook by adding vegetable broth. Leave to cold. Once marinated, cook the swine in a wood oven at a temperature of 64 degrees for 5 hours. Once cooked, cut a piece by hand, put in a pan together with celery, carrots, onion and tomato concentrate, and finish cooking. Take the rice and form some nighiri with ragout filling with the help of a sushi cap, then put it in caramelized breadcrumbs; cut the rest of the leg in small strips. Melt the dammuso in warm water until creamy. Lay down out roulade decorating it with swine strips, mixed herbs and coffee powder.

Song suggested to read this article: I left my sugar in Salt Lake City – Peggy Lee