My last name is also the name of a town in Sicily, not far from Palermo. Because of the name, I have always felt a special connection with the island. My first visit dates back to 1980 and, soon after my arrival in Palermo, I tasted amazing cookies called reginelle.
The word reginella literally means little queen: reginelle is the plural. You really never use the singular form, because as soon as you taste one of those delicacies, you want some more. Reginelle are thumb-shaped, slightly bigger than thumb-sized and covered with sesame seeds. To ensure complete coverage, the cookies are rolled in the seeds before being baked. Sesamo is called cimino in Palermo and reginelle are also called 'nciminati, sesamized (I just made up this word).
Update #1: I brought back some reginelle from my recent visit to Palermo (October 2007). I bought them at the Pasticceria Fratelli Magrì in Via Isidoro Carini 42. They were delicious and when I ate the last one I was almost in tears, which means I really must try and make them at home.
Update #2: this is my rendition of these cookies.
[This post is dedicated to Paz.]
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the reginella audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]