Ratzinger, the pastry chef Fiasconaro: “Panettone for three Popes, he will be greatly missed”

“We are very sorry for the death of Pope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger, one of the most intelligent and profound people I have ever known has passed away”. Talking to Adnkronos is Nicola Fiasconaro, the master pastry chef, knight of Labor, creator of the most famous panettone in the world, which from the Madonie even ended up on the moon, but also to the last three popes, including Pope Joseph Ratzinger. Nicola Fiasconaro with his brothers Martino and Fausto manages the confectionery company founded in 1953 by his father Mario in Castelbuono (Palermo) in Piazza Margherita. The father started out as an ice cream maker, when there weren’t yet refrigerators. Then the production extended to pastry, from cannoli, to cassate, to “sfinciones” with ricotta cream. And Nicola, year after year, more and more in love with the art of pastry, has built up a small empire.

“We have brought our panettone to the last three popes – Nicola Fiasconaro tells Adnkronos – The first was John Paul II, then Pope Ratzinger and, finally, Pope Bergoglio. There has always been a relationship of friendship and closeness with the Saint site”. “An estimate that binds us to the Holy See – says Nicola Fiasconaro as he recalls Pope Benedict XVI – we are truly very sorry”.

And he tells of those times when he personally brought his panettone to the German Pope. “He was very reserved – he says – but every time he received our panettone he rejoiced. He didn’t have that expansive character of Pope Francis, he was German, but he was always very joyful to receive panettone as a gift from my family”. “He was always very pleased to receive panettone – Cavalier Nicola Fiasconaro recalls – it happened regularly at Christmas and Easter. Over the years we have managed to have that trust from the Holy See which makes us proud. For us it is a great honour”. In recent days, Nicola Fiasconaro has also brought his panettone to Montecitorio for the Christmas toast of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who complimented, praising the Maestro.

‘We feel privileged to have this relationship with the Holy See’

“One of the people I consider in the top ten of Italian excellence in the world, Maestro Fiasconaro, pays us homage with his presence – said Meloni -. As you know, I have been an ambassador for years because his creations are amazing and, today, for those who still don’t know the goodness, you will find a tribute, a fundamental piece of Sicilian excellence”.

“We feel privileged to have had this relationship with the Vatican – says Nicola Fiasconaro – Also because in the Fiasconaro family we have religious, Franciscans. A relative, Father Paolo Fiasconaro, was at the top of the CEI. He has always been there a relationship, a historic friendship. But, above all, we have always had priests at home. There is also a book on the ‘Presbyteri Fiasconaro’. They have always been there”.

And he concludes: “Today the Church is needed more than ever, it is a fundamental point of reference for future generations. We must be closer than ever to the loss of this great man, Pope Raztinger”.

(by Elvira Terranova)