Tag Archives: Gloucester cafe

New Film: Making the Special Saint Joseph Altar Bread

Artists-in-the-Kitchen Maria Cracchiolo, and her parents Domenic and Nina Damico, demonstrate how to create beautiful bread in shapes symbolic of Saint Joseph and inspired by nature. Watch as Maria, Nina, and Domenic artfully shape angels, a carpenter’s saw, San Giuseppe scroll, Saint Joseph sun, snails, flowers, butterflies, grapes, and more.

Many thanks to Sefatia Romeo Thekan for the suggestion to contact Maria and family to interview for Gloucester’ Feast of  Saint Joseph film project.

For improved viewing experience, click off the Vimeo HD icon in the bottom right hand corner and the video will load much more quickly.

As you will hear Maria’s story unfold (while deftly shaping the dough), her family’s tradition of making the Saint Joseph altar bread began several years ago, for a very heartfelt reason. In 2010, her young daughter was facing a very serious operation. Maria had never made the special Saint Joseph bread, but decided that year to make it her devotion to Saint Joseph. Maria taught herself how to shape the bread, finding inspiration in old photos of altars, and also from images, which she found online, of bread made in Sicily. Maria lived in Italy for five years, attending art school and studying fashion design. When I write “Artists-in-the Kitchen” you’ll see why after viewing the video.

Both of Maria’s parents, Nina and Domenic, were born in Sicily and grew up celebrating the Feast of San Giuseppe in the Sicilian tradition of feeding the poor and orphaned, and welcoming all who came to their table. Thank you Maria, Domenic, and Nina for graciously welcoming me into your Caffe Sicilia’s kitchen!

Saint Joseph Bread is available by special order at Caffe Sicilia. Call to place your order at (978) 283-2345

San Giuseppe Bread Caffe Sicilia ©Kim Smith 2014

See previous posts related to Caffe Sicilia:

Filming Continues on Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project, Today at Caffe Sicilia

Caffe Sicilia’s St. Joseph Zeppole or, in Other Words, A Cloud of Sweetness Sent from the Heavens 

Sfinci di San Giuseppe

Sfinci di San Giuseppe Rounds off a Trio of Traditional Saint Joseph Treats from Maria Cracchiolo and Family at Caffe Sicilia

Sfinci Caffe Sicilia ©Kim Smith 2014Sfinci di San Giuseppe

For non-Sicilians, like myself, you may be wondering what exactly are Sfinci di San Giuseppe? The way Maria, Nina, and Domenic make them, Sfinci are amazing creamy puffs, fried to golden-brown perfection, and filled with Caffe Sicilia’s heavenly light and fluffy sweetened ricotta, or the same ricotta, with mini-chocolate chips added.

Inside the beautiful box of Zepplole that Maria sent me home with after filming, were two Sfinci’s made moments earlier, fillled with ricotta, and garnished with candied orange peel and cherry. I hope my husband and son never read this post because after eating the first Sfinci di San Giuseppe, it was so fabulously delicious that I never gave anyone else a chance to try one and ate the second (although managing to save them each a Zeppole)! Habit-forming!

Sfinci have been a part of Sicilian cuisine for centuries. Traditionally they were served for dessert on Saint Joseph’s Day. Today they are a specialty of Palermo and are served all year round. Both Maria’s parents, Nina and Domenic Damico, were born outside of Palermo and spent their early childhoods there. I imagine that is one reason why the family knows how to create this sumptuously yummy treat!!! Sfinci is a wonderfully fun word to say and is pronounced something like this: sah-fin-chee, only you say the sah-fin syllables very quickly together.

Caffe Sicilia’s Sfinci di San Giuseppe are available, as are their Zeppole, through Easter. Because their Sfinci fly out the door as quickly as their Zeppole, place your orders for both ahead of time and call (978) 283-2345.

Filming Continues on Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project, Today at Caffe Sicilia!

Caffe Sicilia’s St. Joseph Zeppole or, in Other Words, A Cloud of Sweetness Sent from the Heavens!