Let’s Light Up These Dark Days on Sunday With Santa Lucia

At the dawn of the 4th century, practicing Christianity in the Roman-ruled city of Siracusa was illegal. Already though, inspired by nearby Catania’s Patron Saint, Sant’Agata, who lived just a few decades before (from 231 AD – 251 AD), the young and beautiful Lucia devoted herself to Christianity. In fact, she was known to enter…

Rice Balls, Glorious Rice Balls

Before I continue with the significance of the December 13 Feast for Santa Lucia, let’s talk about the really serious stuff! That is, that Palermitani celebrate the Saint by eating arancine. Arancine (as they are known in Palermo, pictured right; Arancini, if you’re from the east side of Sicily, pictured left), are rice balls filled…

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…