This Sunday or Palm Sunday as it is known in the Catholic Church marks the beginning of Holy Week. It honors the day when Jesus arrived to Jerusalem. According to the story, the people laid down their cloaks or branches as he entered the city on a donkey.
Typically churches will distribute a piece of palms or olive branches to the congregation so they may be blessed during the service. However in Sorrento, there is a little something extra dangling down. The men typically attach a small piece of Caciocavallo cheese to the branches, while the women adorn theirs with sugarcoated almonds known as confetti.
The story goes that in 1551 Saracens ships were preparing to invade Sorrento. However the rough seas shipwrecked the ships before reaching shore. The lone survivor was a young girl who carried with her a small bag of confetti. From then on, the people of Sorrento celebrated their good fortune with the benediction of the candied nut. While there is no legendary story for the Caciocavallo, the cheese is considered one of the oldest and most appreciated of the region.Caciocavallo is a pasta-filata or stretched-curd cheese, whereby the curd is cooked, stretched and kneaded contributing to its dense and stringy texture. The flavors vary among producers but should have some saltiness and be slightly sharp. No wonder the people of Sorrento continue to seek blessing for this cheese, something this tasty could always use more good graces.