early mornings, Caffe Sicilia, 40 Main Street Gloucester, MA (978) 283-7345
early mornings, Caffe Sicilia, 40 Main Street Gloucester, MA (978) 283-7345
As Saint Joseph Day is just around the corner (March 19th), mother and daughter Nina and Maria are creating beautiful and wonderfully delicious treats for the feast day–the special San Giuseppe altar bread, cassata cakes, sfinci, zeppole, and much, much more. It is not too late to place your order! Call Maria at 978-283-7345 today. Caffe Sicilia is located at 40 Main Street.
Mayor Sefatia’s inaugural celebration, held at Tonno Restaurant, was attended by a gathering of friends and supporters, including Massachusetts’s beloved Governor Charlie Baker and State Senator Bruce Tarr. Guests enjoyed the beautiful spread prepared by Chef Anthony Caturano, with wonderfully delicious desserts from Caffe Sicilia, and everyone wanted to have a photo taken with Governor Baker, which he kindly obliged. Mayor Sefatia spoke about her early days working on health care with Governor Baker and of his great compassion. See the Instagram videos for more from the Mayor and Governor Baker.
Despite the wonderfully fun and boisterous Fiesta crowd on Rogers Street, Main Street was quiet and peaceful. Tom and I went to dinner at Passports and it was a cinch to park. We had a lovely dinner and then walked to the carnival. No need to “escape” to other towns during Fiesta. Please support your local Main Street restaurants and businesses during Fiesta week.
Maria Cracchiolo outdid herself in providing not one, but two, fabulous cakes for the ninth night of the Saint Peter’s Fiesta novena. The smiles of anticipation and delicious enjoyment on everyone’s faces said it all!
The Bookstore of Gloucester
Alice Gardner | St Peter’s Fiesta Gloucester, Massachusetts
A solo exhibition featuring the original illustrations (gouache, pen&ink, some acrylic) for her NEW children’s picture book published ©2017 the 90th Anniversary of Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta!
Address: 61 Main Street. Gloucester, MA 01930
Exhibition dates: June 3, 2017 – Fiesta and beyond!
Bookstore phone: (978) 281-1548
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday June 17
The first St. Peter’s Fiesta book launch and debut reading will be held at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library as a special part of a celebration program for the 90th Anniversary Party of St. Peter’s Fiesta thrown by the library, The Bookstore and Caffe Sicilia on Saturday June 17, 10-11:15AM
She did. Alice Gardner maintains a studio in downtown Gloucester, next to the Cape Ann Museum. She has lived on the North Shore for more than 40 years. St. Peter’s Fiesta is a subject Gardner has photographed, chronicled and painted for over a decade.
Gardner says that multiple programs and contacts stemming from the Cape Ann Reads initiative and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators were critical in getting this new book into production. “Just do it!” was a motivating topic from a Steven Pressfield talk sponsored by the latter. She did. She created an entire new body of some of the Fiesta moments that have touched her most, alive with color and completed in time to coincide with the 2017 90th year Anniversary. Gardner was also inspired by Anita Silvey’s Cape Ann Reads presentations. She said Silvey mentioned “calling all these celebrities for “Everything I need to Know I learned From A Children’s Book.” It made me think that. Why don’t I just call? I wanted to talk to the Mayor. I wanted to talk to many people…This is a Gloucester story. They all grew up with Fiesta. I did not. They became part of creating the book…” Gardner’s generous acknowledgement narrative is given great attention in the design.
The new paintings on exhibit are not for sale, but you can see a small selection of Gardner’s joyous responses to the spirit of Fiesta in larger, earlier works at The Book Store; or call ahead and visit her studio. “I am inspired by public events that make people happy, they’re doing things where there’s a unique sense of place and culture.” Gardner painted a series inspired by Boston icons– like the Boston Common swan boats– for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Illuminations. She’s also captured the seasonal charm of Manchester by the Sea at Fourth of July.
Studio next to Cape Ann Museum http://www.alicegardnerstudio.com/
The Bookstore has a substantial children’s book section The Bookstore of Gloucester Facebook link
Alice photos OF Fiesta featured on GMG
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!
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 🙂
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.
Photograph below shows some new branding design by Carol. 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.