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…

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…

Wheat

Wheat is one of the key elements to understanding Sicily. For millennia, wheat was Sicily’s main agricultural product and economic engine. The Greeks cultivated grain from the time they arrived on the island 700 years before the Common Era. Demeter, goddess of grain and the harvest, was central to eastern Sicilians’ religion because of her…

Tumminia, Sicily’s Ancient Grain

Tumminia (pictured at Molini del Ponte in Castelvetrano), also called Timilia, is an ancient grain variety cultivated in only a few locations in the Belice Valley in western Sicily. Once milled, it plays the role of principal ingredient in Castelvetrano’s Slow Food designated pane nero (black bread). Filippo Drago, owner of Molini del Ponte in Castelvetrano, makes…

Silver Girl

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…