Tag Archives: Maria Cracchiolo

COME ONE COME ALL TO THE GROPPO FAMILY FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH

With a troupe of friends lending a hand, preparations for tomorrow’s Feast of San Giuseppe were full underway today at the Groppo home. All are invited to the table at the welcoming home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Caffe Siclia’s Maria Cracchiolo creates Saint Joseph altar bread in exquisite nature-inspired shapes and iconic Christian symbols.

Noami helping Jane with the flowers.

These three friends call themselves the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Your guess is as good as mine re who is who.

Celebrating tomorrow with sweet friends ❤  

Viva San Giuseppe!

 

CAFFE SICILIA IS HUMMING FILLING YOUR SPECIAL ORDERS FOR SAINT JOSEPH’S DAY!

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.

CAFFE SICILIA’S MARIA CRACCHIOLO’S SUPER DELICIOUS SAINT PETER’S FIESTA CAKES

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!

HAPPY EASTER FROM CAFFE SICILIA!

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! 

HELLO! YOU CAN WIN THIS GINORMOUS EASTER EGG!

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 🙂

ORDER YOUR SPECIAL SAINT JOSEPH ALTAR BREAD, ROLLS, AND SWEET TREATS TODAY!

Preparations for St. Joseph celebrations are well underway throughout the City and our local bakers are baking up a storm. Saint Joseph rolls are available from Virgilios at 978-283-5395. 

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  

CAFFE SICILIA’S LAMBS OF EASTER

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -3 2016 Kim SmithPecorelle 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.

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -4 2016 Kim Smith

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.

Bare tints of color for the marzapane lambs faces and ears

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -2 2016 Kim Smith

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!

Maria assembling the Easter lambs

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester 2016 Kim Smith

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! AND HAPPY SAINT JOSEPH’S DAY!

Beginning in the early 1900s, the American Father’s Day was brought to Italy, a sort of reverse sharing of holidays! Fittingly, in Italy, Father’s Day is celebrated on Saint Joseph’s Day.

Maria Cannova Gloucester Feast of Saint Joseph blessing children -5 Kim Smith 2016Three generations of Cannovas, Maria’s son Leo, Giliano Mari, and Grandfather

Saint Joseph Gloucester gropp feast Kim Smith 2016

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim SmithFather and Daughter Domenic and Maria making zeppole at Caffe Sicilia

Groppo Feast of saint Joseph Gloucester Kim Smith 2016Kensie and Grandfather Tony

A SEA OF ZEPPOLES (AND SFINCI, TOO)!

Caffe Sicilia’s sea of zeppoles, and sfinci, too!

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic sfinci Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim SmithSfinci

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole -2 Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim Smith .JPGZeppole in progress 

So many thanks to Maria, Nina, and Domenic for their continued help with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. 

Caffe Sicilia Maria Domenic zeppole Saint Joseph. 2016 Kim Smith

Live Saint Joseph sfinci making with Caffe Sicilia's Nina – part one

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

 

 

MARIA CRACCHIOLO DEMONSTRATES HOW TO CREATE 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.
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.

CELEBRATING SAINT JOSEPH NOVENA WITH THE GROPPO FAMILY

Nina and Frank Groppo Saint Joseph Feast ©Kim Smith 2014 -2This year the Groppo’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph honoring Nina’ s mother, Di Gaetano Vincenza. Tomorrow night, Thursday, the nine day novena begins and all are most sincerely welcome at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -7 © Kim Smith 2014JPG

Saturday is Saint Joseph pasta-making day at the Groppo’s and it is the most fun, with everyone lending a hand, from the oldest granny to the youngest child.

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making -2 kim smith designs.com 2016

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making kim smith designs.com 2016saint-joseph-bread-caffe-sicilia-c2a9-kim-smith-2014- (1)Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo is returning from vacation on Saturday and special orders for her beautiful bread can be placed then. You can see a demonstration of how she expertly shapes the Saint Joseph altar bread here.Flowers feast of saint Joseph altar kim smith designs.com

Jane Harper Beddus Feast of Saint Joseph kim smith designs.com 2016Jane Harper Beddus, the ‘flower lady’ arranging this year’s altar flowers

BEST WEDDING VENDORS NORTH SHORE BOSTON REGION

Esther Mathieu livmatt_06-20-2015-256 (1)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.

Olivia & Matt 6-20-15

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.

Esther Mathieu livmatt_06-20-2015-437

Son Alex’s Heaping Helping

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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 dangallen@yahoo.com.

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: info@esthermathieu.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: lsmith@capeanntv.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

Esther mathieu livmatt_06-20-2015-302

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. 

livmatt_06-20-2015-261The 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.EM livmatt_06-20-2015-466EM livmatt_06-20-2015-301Emily 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: ejwatt@gmail.com.

Liv Matt ©Kim Smith 2015

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

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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.EM livmatt_06-20-2015-442

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: sbethg@gmail.com.

Gloucester Rental Center did an excellent job and we found nearly all of our event needs there: Gloucester Rental Center.

Esther Mathieu livmatt_06-20-2015-413

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: stan_wohlfarth@msn.com.

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PHOTOS BY ESTHER MATHIEU*

Olivia & Matt 6-20-15b

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.

 

GORGEOUS FESTIVE CAKES FOR YOUR FIESTA SUNDAY SPECIAL DINNER, MADE BY MARIA CRACCHIOLO

Esther mathieu photo cake-1

Fabulous and delicious cake made by Maria for my in-laws 65th wedding anniversary. Needless to say it was huge hit, with layers of raspberry and lemon cream sandwiched between creamy sweet frosting. Stop in to Caffe Sicilia for your Saint Peter’s Day cakes and confections. See Maria featured on the front page of today’s Gloucester Daily Times!

Photo Courtesy Esther Mathieu

Buona Pasqua from Caffe Sicilia!

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. 

*     *     *

 

See a quick glimpse of Maria making the Groppo’s Cassata Siciliana, posted around the time of the Feast of Saint Joseph.

Order Your Beautiful Caffe Sicilia Cassata Siciliana

Caffe Sicilia Maria Cracchiolo Cassata Siciliana Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2015

 

 

 

Order Your Beautiful Caffe Sicilia Cassata Siciliana for Easter Today!

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.

Caffe Sicilia Maria Cracchiolo Cassata Siciliana Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2015

 

VIDEO: Making Saint Joseph Altar Bread with Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo

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.

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

 

 

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-caffe-sicilia-c2a9-kim-smith-2014- (1)

Beautiful Saint Joseph Altar Bread Created by Caffe Sicilia

 

Maria Cracchiola’s Whimsical Cakes

Maria Cracchiola birthday cakemermaid ©Kim Smith 2014The kids (and adults) were wonderfully fascinated by Maria Cracchiolo’s mermaid birthday cake–the details were simply charming–with shade-dyed waves, sea creature candles, fondant mermaid, and chocolate covered rock. Believe me, it tasted as good as it looked!!

You may recall that we featured Maria making the special Saint Joseph altar bread  at Caffe Sicilia back in March. Maria makes beautiful, whimsical cakes such as this, by special order, and may be reached by calling Caffe Sicilia at 978-283-7345. To see more of Maria’s creations, visit her Facebook page here.

New Film: Making the Special Saint Joseph Altar Bread

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!

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