Cuccìa for Lucia

Cuccìa is a wheat berry (also barely, spelt, or farro) pudding made in honor of the Feast of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of wheat and grain. I made this cuccìa pictured, following the recipe in Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily cookbook. Cuccìa became the traditional dish of the December 13 feast because during the…

Crunchy On The Outside

Earlier this week, I mentioned that in the days leading up to and including La Festa di Santa Lucia, Palermitani don’t eat flour-based foods. So what do they eat then? Arancine, of course! Yes, these balls-of-gold are a masterpiece of Palermitano wheat-free street food, and Sicilians of the Conco d’Oro take their arancine very seriously…

The Famine of 1646

In the days leading up to the Feast of Santa Lucia, December 13, many Sicilians refrain from eating pasta and only eat un-ground wheat grain, or “farro,” that is prepared as a dish called cuccìa. Devotees observe this ritual to remember the severe famine that struck Siracusa and Palermo in 1646. During that time of…