Saint Agatha’s Breasts

Make no mistake, these pastry are created to look like breasts. And, I will say also, that it is a celebration of them! I’m preparing you for the big feast in Catania. From February 3 to 5, Eastern Sicily’s largest city (and the second largest in Sicily) is alive with passionate fervor as devotees celebrate…

Pasquetta and Cassata

Pasquetta, or Easter Monday, is a day to celebrate spring’s arrival with good friends. Social gatherings in Sicily almost always involve sharing a meal, and most meals are followed by sweets. Cassata cake (picture) is one of those sweets that can be found throughout the island. In the past, cassata used to be associated with…

Here Comes the Cassata

There is much debate about the origins of cassata cake, but one thing is clear: it is as elaborate as the Baroque architecture one finds throughout Sicily–and it is as decadent. So much so, that until the mid-20th century, cassata was only eaten by the masses on Easter Sunday. Cassata is made up of sponge…

Keeping You Abreast

From February 3 to 5 the city of Catania is alive with passionate fervor as devotees celebrate their patron, Saint Agatha. These ricotta-filled pastry, pictured, called “minna di Sant’Aita” or Saint Agatha’s Breast represent Agatha, who is the patron saint of martyrs, bakers, earthquakes, wet nurses, and breast cancer patients. Her story starts in early…

Ancient Sicilian Secret

The cloistered Cistercian nuns of Agrigento’s Monastero di Santo Spirito, like many of their cloistered counterparts around Sicily, over the centuries have raised funds by selling baked goods. Pictured here is one of those goods–sweet couscous–for which the recipe is a secret. After eating it during our Experience Sicily tour in September, I can tell…