Sunday, 4 December 2011

'Tis the Season of Sicilian Christmas Markets & Cookies!! :-)

Buona sera a tutti! December has now arrived amici miei ... the cold has set in and the excitement of the festive season can be felt all around us. Many families across the world are now starting to prepare their homes for the Christmas festivities, however in Italy it is tradition to wait for the 8th December to put up the Christmas tree and hang the decorations. This is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which celebrates the conception of the Virgin Mary, and it is a public holiday in Italy. This event is celebrated throughout the country with religious street processions such as that shown in the video below in Termini Imerese, Palermo.

This is also the period of the 'Mercatini di Natale', the wonderful Christmas markets, and one that I can highly recommend is that of the 'Mercatino di S.Lucia, Belpasso' in the province of Catania. This is held from the 9th to the 11th December in the beautiful town of Belpasso, which is found on the slopes of Etna, and features stalls selling local delicacies and handmade Christmas crafts. The mountainous setting with its tall pine trees and views of snowy Etna creates the perfect festive atmosphere and the nearby town of Nicolosi even offers outdoor ice-skating.

To celebrate the arrival of the Christmas period I will leave you with a recipe for traditional Sicilian Christmas cookies to enjoy on these dark, winter nights! Enjoy :-)


500g Honey
500g Flour
250g Ground Almonds
200g Grated Dark Chocolate
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Cloves

Mix together all of the ingredients and place the cookies in the desired form onto a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees for fifteen to twenty minutes. 

A presto - Debra :-)