We are so sad to be here, writing about the passing of Carlo Assenza. Carlo was our friend and a esteemed crusader for the Sicilian Almond.
Carlo was one half of a two person team. Thanks to Carlo and his brother Corrado Assenza the world has Caffe’ Sicilia, in Noto, Sicily.
Caffe’ Sicilia is more than just a foodie destination. It is a place with a heart and a mission. It is a pasticceria with a strong attachment to farmers and agriculture, in large part thanks to Carlo. As Identita’ Golose says, “Carlo had a passion for preserving one of Sicily’s most iconic ingredients, the almond” and goes on to say that Carlo and Corrado “were the soul of Caffe’ Sicilia.”
Everyone at Gustiamo has a story or a memory about Carlo. He had a wonderfully playful and fun personality. He liked to joke. He had a funny way of speaking in English when we’d call him to talk about our next shipment of Caffe’ Sicila torrone. “Goooood mooorning,” is how he would answer the phone when he saw it was the Bronx calling.
We loved his rant about pistachios. That rant is so important. We will certainly go on to tell the story of the Sicilian Pistachio and why it matters. We will also never stop talking about Sicilian Almonds. For decades we have admired the work Carlo has done with Sicilian Almond Farmers.
Carlo was so proud that one of his dear pistachio farmers was recently written about in the New York Times.
We are honored to have had Carlo on Team Gustiamo; he was an important part of our group of good food heroes. The photo you see here, was taken a year ago at our party in Florence. It was the party we threw in celebration our food producers. Carlo was one of the first people to arrive and last to leave.
Carlo, we miss you already, Sicily will never be the same without you.