With the Arab introduction of sugar into Sicily in the 9th century the cooking style of this three sided island changed forever. Ricotta had long been an essential part of Sicilian cuisine as well as pine nuts and currants. Resourceful Sicilians added the neutral sweetness of sugar to these staples foods, wrapped them in a fried but delicate pastry "tube" and hence the birth of cannoli. Originally enjoyed by Sicilians only at Carnival time, word spread quickly of their goodness. The wonderful legacy of this Sicilian invention now enjoys worldwide popularity.