Do visit Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples for the annual Mandorlo in Fiore festival every February.
200 g almonds, shelled; 250 g sugar; 100 g starch; 40 g plain chocolate, grated; a few pine nuts and pistachios; lemon zest; lemon leaves; cinnamon.
Peel the almonds after immersing them in boiling water for a few minutes and pound with a pestle.
Wrap in a clean cloth, tie and dip repeatedly into 1 litre of water, squeezing the cloth well each time, then remove.
Dissolve the starch in a little of the almond water, taking care not to let any lumps form.
Mix with the rest of the liquid and the sugar and add a strip of lemon zest.
Place on a moderate heat and stir continuously until the liquid starts to thicken. Remove from heat.
see also Pignolata messinese recipe