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…

A Faithful Maiden

Under the ancient Roman calendar, December 13 was the shortest day of the year: the winter solstice. Under our modern Gregorian calendar, the solstice in 2017 falls on December 21. In Sicily, December 13 is still recognized as a celebration of light, when they celebrate the Feast of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of the…

Light Up the Dark

Please mark your calendar to come celebrate our shared light in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2PM at Cacio e Vino, where we’ll have a full luncheon with traditional Sicilian dishes for Santa Lucia, a presentation about the Patroness of Siracusa, and a short live concert of traditional Sicilian songs. Reservation and…

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…

Santa Lucia: They Called, She Responded 

The priceless silver statue of Santa Lucia (in the photograph pictured) will be processed through the streets of Ortigia on December 13, her feast day. Devotees wearing green caps and singing “Viva Santa Lucia” in a call-and-response fashion, will carry her sacred relics. This age-old devotion is rooted in the ancient Greek Persephone/Kore and Demeter myth, which…