What is Fiori di Sicilia?

I’m glad you asked, reader Katie, because I forgot to make a note about it. Fiori di Sicilia is an extract that combines vanilla, citrus and flower essences. “Flowers of Sicily” is what it literally means. I’ve looked around and can’t determine for certain if Italians use this exact product in their panettone baking, however it seems clear that extracts containing flower essences are fairly common there. The dominant flavors in Fiori di Sicilia are vanilla and orange, so a combination of those two make a fine substitute. Also a little rose flower water, if you can find some of that, will make up for some of the floral aromas. But don’t be afraid to omit it entirely, because to be honest it can be just too darn strong for some people. It nearly is for me!

23 thoughts on “What is Fiori di Sicilia?”

  1. Hi Joe, I asked my mother if my grandfather used
    Flora di Sicilia in his panettone. She remembers
    him using orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla
    no Flora di Sicilia. Now this was during the fourties,
    and fifties, I don’t know if they had it on the market
    then. She also said he used cake yeast, because that’s
    what he used in the bakery. He used candied fruit,
    but no nuts. The most amazing thing is that he
    used a coffee or tomato can to bake it in. The old
    timers made due with what they had.

    1. I have no doubt that’s true, Ben. As you may have noted, I’m not recommending the flowers after all. The panettone I made today is overwhelmingly aromatic. I just don’t think most people would like it. Thanks for this! It reinforces my decision.


      – Joe

    1. You know I think the effect would be largely the same.

      Great news on the starter! Feed me, Seymour!

      – Joe

  2. Here in Brazil, where the Italians immigrants brought the Panettone in the 19th century, we don’t use Fiori di Sicilia when making panettones, but an essence called “Essência de Panettone” plus some vanilla extract. The panettone essence smells like a mixture of orange extract with some citric notes which resembles the flavor of candied fruit. The recipes also includes a good amount of candied fruit and raisins, but no nuts. So the panettone flavor comes out from vanilla extract and candied fruit strengthened by the panettone essence, which in addition adds an orange aroma to the dough. So if I would bake an all natural panettone, I would use some vanilla beans plus orange and lemon zest as a substitute for the artificial flavors. Just sharing a bit of what happens here, since we eat a lot of panetonne in the Christmas time. Cheers!

      1. Yes – totally agree – Brazilians use panettone essence. You can buy this online or, just like Giovani said, you can use vanilla plus orange and lemon zest. With Christmas just around the corner, everyone here in Brazil is making panettone! Happy baking!

    1. I lived in Rio for a few years. I loved the tradition of Panettone at Christmas. All the stores would have so many varieties of Panettone on the shelves, special displays, & even hanging from the ceiling! I also loved all the chocolate eggs, of every size imaginable, at Easter. I miss Brazil so much. Eating Panettone is a tradition I have brought back to the US. I make a wonderful bread pudding with leftover Panettone. What part of Brazil do you live?

  3. I’m making my own Fiori di Sicilia…with vanilla, orange, and lemon…no flower waters. We’ll see how it turns out…it will take a month for the extract to fine…then I will attempt my first panettone…which, by the way, finding a panettone pan here in the US was fruitless…had to order one online from Canada: Consiglio’s Kitchenware…and got the paper molds off of amazon.com.

  4. Can you recommend a company that makes and sells European (220V, European plug) pizelle irons and a European company that makes flavor extracts? I live in Iceland and cannot find either an iron or anise seed/extract.


    Douglas McLaughlin

    1. I wish I could help, Douglas, I don’t know of anyone. However I’ll post a note on the blog and see if some European readers have any ideas.

      Stay tuned,

      – Joe

    2. The Vitantonio Company of Cleveland, Ohio makes the best pizzelle irons, both regular and non-stick. I have had mine for years and years.

    3. I have two pizzelle irons and love them. I would recommend using the one that has only 2 grates because they bake so quickly you have to move fast.

      Prego and Sunbeam

      Shirley from Ct.

  5. I wanted to note that the person asking for an electrical appliance should be told that a converter should be easy to acquire… not only one that changes 120 and 240 back and fourth but also handles 50hz vs 60hz better units that include surge protection can be pricy but any unit that is made for personal use should do nicely for the home kitchen

    as an electronics dabbler i can say that the hertz doesn’t matter in pure heating applications for a certainty and likely the voltage wouldn’t matter either But if it does affect anything it would only affect temperature of the heating element which would still be regulated by the thermostat. so just speeding or slowing the time to achieve temperature required.

    and while I am sure of my suggestion, it is prudent that caution should be used the first few uses just to check that the element doesn’t overheat the materials of unit (usually just the plastics to worry about) but once that is assured you should have no problems

    commercial units should always be used with correct power supply though… this is due to legal needs of the users of the products and if you pay the funds to acquire a commercially approved unit it should be no financial problem to also assure they are using the correct power supply. pricy like i said but regulators have to put their hand in the pockets of the consuming public whichever way they can :-\

  6. I have a cranberry orange shortbread cookie recipe that calls for almond extract. We have nut allergies in the house so I was considering using Fiori di Sicilia instead. Thoughts? Would I use the same amount as called for in the recipe or cut back a bit due to the strong flavor of the Fiori?

    1. Hey Donna!

      Almond extract is totally unnecessary, and Fiori di Sicilia is probably going to be too strong. I’d suggest vanilla and perhaps a little lemon in addition. That should do you!


      – Joe

  7. I have a recipe for Half-moon cookies that calls for Fiori di Sicilia. I grew up with these cookies from a local bakery & I have never had any that compare.
    Could I substitute Rose Water effectively? I’ve never used either ingredient, but I have Rose Water on hand. Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hey Carol!

      You certainly can use some rose water, maybe a little orange extract, and of course vanilla. I personally prefer that, as I find Fiori di Sicilia obnoxiously strong!

      Have fun with the cookies!

      – Joe

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