I love stopping in to visit Maria and Nina at Caffe Sicilia anytime of the year, but especially during the holidays. The bakery was humming today, with their regular customers as well as regional and international travelers, and their refrigerator brimming over with special Easter orders. Folks are still purchasing raffle tickets for Caffe Sicilia’s giant chocolate egg to benefit children with autism. What a gorgeous day for shopping downtown Gloucester. Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
Tag Archives: Caffe Sicilia
Caffe Sicilia is raffling tickets for an enormous Easter egg. The funds raised are going towards autism. Did I mention the egg is DARK chocolate 🙂
Sneak peek inside the Braga’s new Italiano Restaurant and Bar opening soon in Gloucester’s Little Italy…and they’re hiring
In a city of incredibly good eats how do you make yours stand out?
Maria and her Mom and Dad, Nina and Domenic, at Caffe Sicilia are now taking orders for the special Saint Joseph altar bread, zeppole, sfinci, ravioli, and cassata cake, and they can be ordered by calling 978-283-7345.Can’t wait for Caffe Sicilia’s ricotta-filled St. Joseph Day doughnuts, or sfinci in Sicilian ❤
Thanks to the Holiday Delights Youth Acting Program at Gloucester Stage, I had the lucky chance to spend some time with artist Carol Kriekis. I thought her home and studio were a perfect reflection of her warmth and style, elegant and layered like an Aesthetic Movement interior. Kriekis works in different media, mostly grounded in representation. I saw series inspired by nature and renderings of flowers.
Recently she’s transformed her classic ‘Glosta’ and other Gloucester designs into oval stickers, each with some hand flourish. The potential for art everywhere around us — stickers, hand painted– that had me thinking about aestheticism, too.
Commission design for clients:
Photograph below shows some new branding design. There’s something coming this spring for Caffe Sicilia…No reveals, yet.
Thank you to Caffe Sicilia’s Maria, Nina, and Dominic for the beautiful box of cookies and treats for our Christmas celebration. Just exquisite–and fabulously delicious–admittedly we tried one (or two). Thank you, thank you ❤ ❤
This past week I stopped by to say hello to Maria and her family at Caffe Sicila. Nina, Maria’s Mom, invited me to come and see she and her sister Grace making pignulata. Caffe Sicilia has dozens and dozens of orders for this wonderful traditional fried pastry desert and they had already begun the first stages several days ago. Nina explains it is most typically served in Sicilian homes around Christmas time, but also other holidays too. Making this treat is a multi-step process, and labor intensive in the volume undertaken by Caffe Sicilia. The sisters offered lots of tips for making the most delicious pignulata (also spelled pignolata) and I hope I am remembering all that they shared!
The bits of dough are throughly drained and set aside for several days as they release more oil. When ready to mold the pignulata, a glaze made of boiled honey and sugar is poured over the fried dough.
Nina and Grace grew up in Terrasini, Sicily, emigrating from Italy when they were young teens. The sisters talked about how back in their childhood days, most people did not have a kitchen oven. To bake their weekly bread and to bake treats during the holidays, families would take their loaves and cookies and cakes to the local town baker and “rent” their oven for a nominal fee. Cookies and cakes were placed on long, long wooden trays and carefully placed in the baker’s oven. Now everyone has their own oven, but most don’t bake nearly as much as they did in the old days.
Visit Caffe Sicilia and see their beautiful display of cuccidati (and every other kind of traditional Sicilian Christmas cookie), wonderfully sweet and spicy gingerbread cakes, cassata cakes, mini pignulata’s, Maria’s handmade marzipan fruits, and much, much more deliciousness!
Caffe Sicilia is located at 40 Main Street. For more information call 978-283-7345.
Pecorelle di Pasqua are a traditional Sicilian Easter treat although, when Easter falls very close to Saint Joseph’s Day as it did this year, Maria shared that the Lambs of Easter are often found on Saint Joseph altars. Maria’s are so charming I am planning to purchase several to Not eat but to decorate our Easter table. They are very reasonably priced, especially considering all the work that is involved with making and how expensive is the marzapane.
Each lamb is molded from almond dough and after drying, skillfully hand painted by Maria. I popped into Caffe Sicilia Wednesday morning to say hello and happily caught Maria just as she was beginning to paint and decorate the Easter lambs. We filmed her working with my movie camera for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and here is a glimpse with iPhone photos and Instagrams.
With thanks, appreciation, and the deepest gratitude to Maria Cracchiolo and her parents Nina and Domenic Damico for their continued help with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. From the project’s onset, they have opened their kitchen doors and very generously shared Sicilian traditions and baking techniques. We are so very fortunate to have Maria, her family, and Caffe Sicilia in our Gloucester Community. With thanks again to Mayor Sefatia for suggesting we knock on Maria’s door!
Happy Spring! Happy Easter!
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.
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 altar 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.
Many thanks to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken for the suggestion to contact Maria and her family to interview for Gloucester’ Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project.
Artist Jill Feron preparing to paint new restaurant Tonno’s window, which she reports will be opening in May.
Caffe Sicilia has a few pumpkin, ricotta, coconut cream, and pecan pies still available. They are going fast so hurry on in! Please pick up your pie orders before 8pm Wednesday night as they are closed Thanksgiving Day.
Left to right Mario Balstreri (seated), Peter Zappa, our Mayor, and Peter Locontro
Some favorite images from Tuesday night ‘s election event at City Hall were of the hopeful and pensive faces of friends and families waiting for results. Best wishes and congratulations to all the candidates for jobs well done!
Jamie, Connie, and Joe Orlando
Perhaps you are planning a wedding or special event in the coming months. Our daughter Liv Hauck and Matt O’Rourke, married on June 20th, wanted to share about the talented people who helped make their dream wedding come true. From caterers Dan Allen and Andy Maitland to Esther Mathieu Photography, everyone involved did an outstanding job. We wish to express our most heartfelt thanks to all and thought the best way to say a big thank you to each was to provide contact information and a brief description about their businesses.
Invitation by Shaina Gregory
First and foremost, our tremendous thanks and appreciation goes to Dan Allen Catering. He, along with partner Andy Maitland (Maitland Mountain Farm), prepared an exquisite menu using the most freshest and sweetest ingredients from local farms and fisheries. The theme was New England clambake meets county dinner, based around everyone’s favorite main courses—Ken Duckworth’s sublime recipe for lobster risotto and a wonderfully delicious buttermilk fried chicken. Captain Joe and Sons provided the lobster and the fresh vegetables came from Maitland Mountain Farm, as well as from Appleton Farms. Even the honey butter for the cornbread came from Dan’s own beehives! We were all raving about how delicious and unique were the hors d’oeuvres, which included such tantalizing tidbits as open-faced braised rib sliders, smoked tomato roasted corn arancini, and salmon canapés with mascarpone, capers, and fresh dill. Accompaniment dishes were devoured as equally as were the main courses and hors d’oeuvres—traditional clam chowder, farm fresh succotash, and homemade pickled vegetable—to name only a few.
Son Alex’s Heaping Helping
Dan’s assistant Mary made the divinely delicious desserts—raspberry tarts, brown butter chocolate chip cookies, brownie layers—the list goes on and on!
Dan and Andy were an absolute dream to work with. I know you will be hearing more about their catered events in the near future. Dan is in the process of launching his website and in the meantime, he may be reached at 978-491-9493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Esther Mathieu is simply the most talented life style photographer in our region. Liv first became interested in Esther’s work from her Instagram account and we all fell in love with her luminous imagery. And she is a total sweetheart to work with! The photos are a treasure and we’ll be pouring over all, thanking Esther for capturing Liv and Matt’s wedding day with such grace and beauty. Contact Esther at: email@example.com.
Our deepest thanks to Lisa Smith who was our fabulous videographer. Lisa is a producer at Cape Ann TV and is also a dear friend. We so appreciate her time and talent. Lisa was discreet; you would hardly know that she was present. We’ll be looking at the footage in the coming days and can hardly wait to see. Lisa can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like a dream, the enchanting music floating throughout the evening was by none other than Cape Ann’s own beautiful songstress Renee Dupuis and the fabulously talented Joe Cardoza and Nathan Cohen. From the sweetly romantic, “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” to which the bride and groom danced their first dance, to one of the bridesmaid’s favorites, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin,” there isn’t a song Renee, Joe, and Nathan could not play, and play beautifully. Could we have been more fortunate than to have these extraordinary talents performing at Liv and Matt’s wedding? Click Renee, Joe, and Nathan to learn more about their current projects. To book the trio, contact Renee at: reneedupuismusic.gmail.com
Melissa Glorieux of Aster B. Flowers created the exquisite bride’s bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, and table arrangements. Not only were the flowers full and lush and perfect, they are all locally grown at her farm in Essex! Aster. B grows her flowers using organic practices only. Read more about Melissa and her sustainable farm here: Aster B. Flowers.
The very talented Maria Cracchiolo from Caffe Sicilia made the seashore inspired wedding cake as well as the perfectly coordinating 65th anniversary cake for Liv’s grandparents. Delicious and delightful (both cakes), Maria is a pleasure to work with. She also made the cannolis we served at Friday night’s celebration and they too, were devoured by all! Maria can be reached at: 978-283-7345.Emily Reed did a stunning job styling the bride and bridesmaid’s hairdos. Each girl’s hair was perfectly suited to her personality and each was so happy with her work. It was a delight to see their expressions after she had created her magic. Emily can be reached at: email@example.com.
Special thanks to Virgilio’s Italian Bakery for catering the party the night before the wedding—the sandwiches, antipasto, and entrees were a tremendous hit. And Nancy Virgilio helped us order just the right amount so that there would be sandwiches enough for late night snacking! Call 978-283-5295 for information abut Virgilio’s catering menu
Kathleen Erickson, owner of Savour Wine and Cheese, was instrumental in choosing the wines and Prosecco. We informed her of the menu and of our budget for both the reception and Friday night’s celebration and she knew just what to recommend. Thank you Kathleen for the wonderful selections; they were simply perfect.
Fun and imaginative, the invitation set the tone of the wedding weekend from the get go. Liv and Matt designed the invite and worked with Shaina to refine the look. Contact Shaina at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloucester Rental Center did an excellent job and we found nearly all of our event needs there: Gloucester Rental Center.
Last, but not in the least, we wish to thank Stan Wohlfarth of Stan’s Classic Service for the vintage VW limo service. Everyone loved that bus! Stan may be reached at: email@example.com.
PHOTOS BY ESTHER MATHIEU*
Shaina Gregory Invitation
*With the exception of invitation scans and the group photo of the wedding party.
Photos of the guests and wedding party to come after Liv and Matt return from Thailand.
SPECIAL SICILIAN REPRESENTATIVES HONOR MASSACHUSETTS FIRST SICILIAN AMERICAN WOMAN MAYOR ROMEO THEKEN
The day began with a tour of City Hall led by the Mayor, followed by a visit to the Cape Ann Museum.
Rhonda Faloon, Cape Ann Museum’s Director, guided the guests through the galleries. This group of international travelers were tremendously impressed with Gloucester’s gem of a museum and were particularly interested in the historical aspect of the fishing and related industries.
Next stop on the Mayor’s grand tour of Gloucester was a fabulous lunch hosted by the Causeway Restaurant. Delicious and fresh course after course of seafood splendor was served–calamari, mussels, shrimp, clams, and octopus–to name just some of the heaping helpings that make the Causeway a Cape Ann destination restaurant.
The Mayor and guests next headed over to Caffe Sicilia for expresso and Maria’s heavenly pastries. The Caffe was packed with patrons, but all managed to squeeze in and enjoy Caffe Sicilia’s vibrant atmosphere, welcoming hospitality, and sweet treats.
Although I unfortunately had to leave, the Mayor was next planning to take the guests on a drive along the shoreline to tour Cape Ann lighthouses!
The song “Piccolo Fiore” has special meaning to Mayor Romeo Theken. It was first sung to her by her first husband Antonino Romeo when they became engaged. He again sang it to her at their wedding, and then at the baptism of their daughter. “Piccolo Fiore” was written by Salvo Romano, a member of today’s representatives.
Representatives and guests included: Salvo Romano, Gil Lana, Maurici Beppe, Tony Gambino, Ross Zagmi, Giuseppe Sabella, Paolo D’Angelo, Rosalia Favazza, Peter Cusenza, Mimmi Galanis, Agatha LoGrasso, Salvatore LoGrosso, Giovanna Margiotta, Paula Shaker, Rocco LoGrosso, Ludoviea Mauriei, Mari Annaloro, Gambino Salvatore, Frank Sclafani, and Girolama Galanis.
Thank you Mayor Romeo Theken for all that you do to for our beautiful community!
SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE Read more
The beautiful, beautiful Easter desserts and confections are all hand made by Maria Cracchiolo, including the marzipan lambs! The refrigerator was bursting with special orders and it was a treat to see Maria’s lovely (and wonderfully delicious) Cassata Siciliana in a range of sizes.
Maria’s family is oftentimes there, hard at work alongside her, and especially during the holidays. Pictured with Maria is her husband, Giuseppe Cracchiolo.
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See a quick glimpse of Maria making the Groppo’s Cassata Siciliana, posted around the time of the Feast of Saint Joseph.
Beautiful handcrafted Easter Sheep Mazapan a perfect addition to any Easter Basket!
Small Single Sheep $15, Large in Basket $18
Enter Raffle To Win Giant Uova di Pasqua!
Tickets on sale now for a chance to win the “Uova di Pasqua” Giant Chocolate Easter Egg! A Traditional Italian Chocolate Egg Suprise, enjoyed by all ages during the Easter Holiday!
Caffe Sicilia has an assortment of Uova di Pasqua Eggs available for sale while supplies last! Shop Caffe Sicilia soon for best selection of color, sizes and price ranges!
Don’t forget to place your holiday pastry order for next weekend!
Don’t forget to tell them Sista Felicia Sent you in!
During this year’s round of filming for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project, I had the wonderful good fortune to stop at Caffe Sicilia just as Maria Cracchiolo was about to decorate her signature Cassata Siciliana.
It was the morning of Saint Joseph Day and as you can imagine, Caffe Sicilia was bustling to fill the day’s special orders of delicious Sicilian pastries and altar breads. Nevertheless, I asked Maria if she would mind if I filmed her while she decorated the cake. No, not all, she graciously allowed. Maria is so deft at cake making that it took her only minutes to create this masterpiece. It’s all been captured for our film project! The Vine below gives a tiny glimpse of Maria’s artistry.
Cassata Siciliana is also traditionally served at Easter time. What a gorgeous gift Caffe Sicilia’s cassata would make to share at your family’s Easter celebration, which as you may know is coming up very soon, in less than two weeks, on Sunday, April 5th. Believe me when I write, Maria’s Cassata Siciliaina tastes as good as it looks–divine, actually! A partial list of the ingredients includes sponge cake, ricotta, liquor, marzipan, royal icing, and candied fruit.
Special orders may be placed by calling Caffe Sicilia at 978-283-7345.