“Look!” cries Lucia. “It’s a biscostoria!” True enough, there are the legends and history of Sicily spelled out in biscuits, with Greek columns and mermaids and fish and crowns – it’s a lovely little piece of whimsy.
Sabrina, the person behind it all, is shy and quiet. The other women in the artisan show that Lucia and I are attending, all jewellery makers, are more outgoing, chatting easily, but Sabrina stands in the corner, her whole body language pulled in on itself, only speaking when spoken to. Her biscuits do the talking for her. I ask if I can take a photo of the witches’ fingers sitting in a bowl at the front of the table and she nods, then hands me a platter for me to try one of her other creations. I take a bite and realise that they don’t just look good – they taste great, too. I’ve got delicious, crumbly cinnamon, but there are also mint-flavoured biscuits covered in chocolate and shaped like leaves, and little round bites of marsala and grape, as well as honey, and pistacchio and almond, and limoncello – oh, it’s a biscuit-lover’s dream.
Lucia comes over and Sabrina starts to explain some of her other work. Her shyness forgotten in the excitement of talking about what she loves, she grabs her camera to show us her round the world trip: Stonehenge and the Pyramids and many other places besides, all created in biscuits. She doesn’t use cutters, but shapes each biscuit individually and then decorates them with piped, coloured icing. Not for her a perfect, production-line birthday or wedding cake covered in marzipan and sugar flowers, designed to be seen more than tasted: she likes the rough-hewn simplicity of biscuits. More than that, she loves the fact that people eat them. Not just a bite, but the whole thing, without leaving a crumb. We’re happy to oblige.