(Photo cred to Michael Colbert)
In Erice, we were treated to the unique experience of baking various sweets with Maria Grammatico, owner of one of the most famous Pasticceria in all of Sicily. Maria Grammatico first encountered the Sicilian tradition of “dolci” in her time growing up in a convent. There she learned the wonderful art of making all kinds of sweets, most notably marzipan made from Sicilian almonds. After leaving the convent, Maria set up her own shop, which she continues to run to this day. In our visit, we worked with Maria and her attendants to make her famous, colorful marzipan. We playfully molded the marzipan into the form of various fruits, other food, and some really adventurous students even made the first letter of their first name! On top of this, we also learned how to make other treats colloquially refereed to as “nun breasts” and “beautiful uglies”. While our creations baked, we dined on a buffet of traditional Sicilian cuisine and afterwards, we were able to enjoy our handiwork as dessert.