Sicily's eccentric marzipan habit is also a symptom of the island's hypertrophic sweet tooth. The nuns of Palermo's Martorana convent first had the idea of making lifelike fruits out of almond paste, or pasta reale. Today they're still given to children on All Saints' Day, and sold to tourists as souvenirs. They last nearly forever.
In recent years the imagination of the martorana makers has no limits. You'll see not only fruits, but marzipan seafood, marzipan hamburgers, marzipan snails, marzipan turnips. Recent sightings in Palermo include televisions, champagne bottles, flying saucers, film stars and a complete marzipan tool box.
Also spelled frutta Marturana
Image by Dedda71, Creative Commons License