Olivette Di Sant’Agata: Olive Marzipan for Saint Agatha

The Feast of Sant’Agata is upon us, and that means olivette di Sant’Agata (pictured) can be found throughout Catania, Sicily and beyond. Olivette are green colored marzipan “olives” that may have a bit of liquor in the mix and are coded in sugar.

Why olives for Agata? Legend is that when the virgin was being pursued by the Roman prefect Quintianus’ soldiers, she stopped to catch her breath and tie her shoe, when suddenly, an olive tree sprung up, providing a place for the virgin to hide. The soldiers passed, giving Agatha the rest she needed to continue her flight. Quintianus sought Agatha for her beauty and probably for her family’s fortune, yet she rejected his advances, causing him to arrest her on account of her devotion to Christ. … And the story continues …

Meanwhile, let’s eat some olivette!

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