Because of its excellent natural habitat and remote settlements, the Madonie has a rich and varied gastronomic tradition. First-rate local products include meat, sausages, salami, cheese, olives, mushrooms and fresh seasonal vegetables, and some of Sicily's best wine is produced nearby.
One tradition of particular interest in the Madonie, mainly at Pollina and Castelbuono, is the production of “manna”, a whitish resin that drips from ash trees when the bark is cut. It is often left to flow and creates stalactite forms before being collected. In the past it was thought to have excellent curative properties for stomach problems, but now is generally used to sweeten local delicacies.
At Polizzi Generosa, typical products include the hazelnut and the “u sfuagghiu”, delicious cakes filled with fresh cheese, chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and other local specialties (pastries and biscuits) and cakes from Castelbuono called “Testa di Turco” (Turkish head) in memories of ancient battles against the Muslim pirates. Special mention is given to the bakery products made by the local pastry chef family Fiasconaro, famous worldwide for its “Panettone” made with the best ingredients from Sicilian gastronomy.
Meanwhile, in Castellana Sicula and Isnello, the most important business activity is milk production, which in fact is widespread throughout the Madonie region, along with a historical tradition of embroidery and weaving.
Collesano is particularly famous for its valuable ceramics, which are recorded on the regional REIS (Register of Intangible Heritage).
Some foods and wine have a cultural dimension, often linked with the festival calendar and local religious traditions. For example, special ceremonial cheese called “cavadduzzi” and “palummeddi of cascavaddu” is made in Geraci Siculo during the ritual of “Cravaccata” (Shepherds’ Parade) on the third Sunday of July in honour of the Holy Sacrament, along with traditional sweets like “agnidduzzi re Pascua” and “serafineddri”, that are packaged at Christmas time by the Benedictine Monks from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Geraci. Geraci is also well known for its mineral water springs.