Cookie of the Beholder 

Of course we know that for la Festa di Santa Lucia Sicilians eat Cuccìa (pictured top) and arancine (rice balls), purposefully avoiding wheat grain in recognition of the severe famine of 1624 that the patron saint of wheat, eyes, sight, and light helped resolve once she heard her devotees’ prayers. But what I learned from my friend…

Watch What You Say

Called Lingua di Suocera, or Mother-Law’s Tongue, perhaps these biscotti get their name from the acerbic taste of the central ingredient that’s wrapped within the sweet butter cookie: citron or lemon marmalade. It seems many Sicilian pastries have a sense of humor! These were photographed at Pasticceria Maria Grammatico in Erice.

Christmas Cuccidati

Cuccidati, pictured here, are another version of “buccellato.” Cuccidati are stuffed with the same dried fig filling as buccellato, yet they are presented in a smaller, cookie form–some more elaborately decorated than others. The fig filling is still some variation of chopped dried figs, pumpkin jam, honey, raisins, almonds, orange rind, cinnamon, and Marsala wine–and…