Sicilian Christmas Cookies

Pastries made with filling of chopped dried figs, pumpkin jam, honey, raisins, almonds, orange rind, cinnamon, and Marsala wine are closely associated with Christmas in Sicily. There is a larger, round, cake-like pastry called buccellato, which is also made in an elaborate cookie-sized version known as buccellati. Meanwhile, cuccidati, pictured here, are their sister. They…

Buona Madonna!

Buona Madonna! This is how my cousin Evelina in Sicily greeted me by text today. So, Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception or la Festa dell’Immacolata to you! Today’s feast recognizes that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without original sin — something with which, in Catholic dogma, every person is considered…

Lucia Brought Light

The pure and beautiful Lucia was known to enter the dark catacombs of Siracusa, lighting her way with a torch in order to feed less fortunate, early Christians. It was the dawn of the 4th century, and practicing Christianity in the Roman-ruled capital was illegal. Already though, inspired by nearby Catania’s patron saint, Sant’Agata, who…