Interview and photography by Albert Rano
In the heart of Palermo, you can discover a wonderland of temptations. Welcome to Pasticceria Costa. Antonio Costa’s journey to the top of the pastry world started 60 years ago, staying loyal to the authentic Sicilian confectionary tradition. As a young boy raised in a pastry neighborhood, he immersed himself with the secrets of traditional pastry. In 1960, with his life savings, Antonio took a leap of faith and opened up his own modest pastry shop supplying tasty sweets for the local bars in the area.
As time went on, Costa earned its title to being considered the most respected pastry shop in Palermo City. He secured his respect as his sweets were not only made with the best raw materials of the territory but also gave value to the ingredients and the people who provide it. Not only are the sweets delicious but the level of passion for this profession is beyond describable. Antonio was able to keep the fire alive and pass his professionalism and guidance to his son, Riccardo Costa, which has brought Costa to another level of achievement. Costa has been recognized for their excellence not only in Italy but around the world. In 2002, Antonio Costa was appointed Knight of the Republic, a respected honor that acknowledged him and Riccardo for many years of hard-work and commitment. Costa’s desserts have also astonished heads of state at the G8 Summit, as they were chosen to provide the refreshments for the annual meeting.
You haven’t visited Palermo without paying a stop at this exclusive pasticceria. Today, they have two locations. With their new store in via Maqueda, 174 or to their historic headquarters in via G. D’Annunzio, 15.
Albert Rano (AR) – Tell me a little bit about the history of Pasticceria Costa.
Riccardo Costa (RC) – Well, this shop was founded 60 years ago – from 1960. It was created by my father and the tradition continues.
AR – What was the inspiration behind opening this pasticceria many years ago? What was the driving force?
RC – My father, Antonio Costa always had the passion for pastries and decided to further continue his passion by founding his own pastry shop.
AR – Your cannolo is very well known in Italy. Can you tell me a little bit about the success of Costa?
RC – We have lots of clients all over Italy and also internationally. We also hope that our products like the cannoli and the cassata are well known everywhere. Our pastry is well known throughout these 60 years, as we have a strong passion for good ingredients. We choose the best quality ingredients such as fresh ricotta that comes from our farmers that are from the mountain range of Madonie.
AR – What would you say is your favorite pastry?
RC – My favorite pastry… It could seem (taken for) granted, it’s the cassata.
AR – I’ve been here every morning since arriving in Palermo and I’ve seen you everyday, behind the cashier, in the kitchen or interacting with clients. What is your favourite thing about your job?
RC – It’s a job that gives me satisfaction. In particular when you have clients that speak very well about our pasticceria – they love the location, they eat well and our products are excellent. I enjoy the contact with the public on a daily basis , as I love when I have the chance to stay amongst all these people. That’s my life. I’ve been raised in this environment since I was a little boy.
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