Pasqua/Easter in cucina & in the spirit of Sicilians….

In Sicily, Pasqua/Easter coincides with the arrival of Spring/La Primavera – as tables abound with carciofi {artichokes}, asparagi {asparagus}, lamb, seppia {calamari/squid}, anchovies made in a variety of family recipes according to the exact geographical location on the island, and the family background.

CARCIOFO

Dolci are purely made with ricotta, cinnamon, honey, vanilla — cassate, cassatelle, ravioli di ricotta {not the pasta, but an actual pastry purely made for Easter}.  Le uova di cioccolato artigianale {Easter eggs with artisanal chocolate} fill the eyes and mouths di tutti i piccolini, i bambini { of all the little ones, all children}.  In Sicily, most holidays are dedicated to particular Saints and with the celebration comes also a culinary feast for the palate and the senses – dishes are highly seasonal and flavorful, con molto gusto e sapore.

ricotta

Spiritually, Sicilians believe and celebrate La Pasqua profoundly.  Their devotion to faith, the sadness and grief that was felt at the time of Jesus’ death is reproduced in incredible processions throghout the island.  As a bambina, my sister and I always participated in the processions of Augusta – I was always Santa Teresa and my sister Santa Lucia.  Though we only survived in the processions for a few brief moments, always scared by the highly dramatic and intense music and dark colors all around, we believed.  We believed that we were in front of Jesus and the Madonna and felt the pain of his death and the joy that came from his Resurrection over the Mediterranean Sea {it might have been the cornetti/croissants we were eating by that time….but, we knew we were witnessing a most powerful and spiritual encounter}.  This still happens in Sicily every Easter – and at this time of the year, I’m always nostalgic if I’m not in my island to witness it in person once more – but in my heart, it will always exist.  Remember that this is a special time of the year, a time of faith and hope, but mostly of forgiveness and reconciliation, of incredible love and joy.  If Jesus resurrected, then we can all have a second chance at life.  I hope that you will always believe in the magic of life, in the beauty of every day, in the arrival of a new spring.  Today more strongly than ever.  Buonanotte e Una Serena Pasqua a voi e alle vostre famiglie,   Francesca

LaMesa4

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