Our Beautiful Our Lady of Good Voyage

our-lady-of-good-voyage-gloucester-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smithour-lady-of-good-voyage-gloucester-massachusetts-2-copyright-kim-smithBlue-eyed Our Lady 

our-lady-of-good-voyage-in-the-morning-sun-copyright-kim-smithOur Lady of Good Voyage Church in the morning sun

Our Lady of Good Voyage was designed to resemble the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena on the island of Pico in the Azores. The west tower houses one of the oldest collections of carillon bells in the nation. The community is treated to a concert of the bells of Good Voyage on Tuesday evenings during the warmer months.

our-lady_71-gloucesterThe above photo is of the original Our Lady, which lives on at the Cape Ann Museum. The photo was shared by Anita Coullard Dziedzic.

Excerpt from the Maritime History of Gloucester

“Originally dedicated in 1893, Our Lady of Good Voyage was built for the Portuguese community in Gloucester, after they petitioned the Roman Catholic Church for the establishment of a place to worship dedicated to the Madonna. Large numbers of Portuguese immigrants migrated from the rugged Azores Islands and began settling around Gloucester’s Inner Harbor as early as 1829 to work in the city’s active fishing industry. By 1888, approximately 200 Portuguese families lived in Gloucester making it the largest Portuguese colony on the East Coast. According to the story of Our Lady of Good Voyage, a stranded fisherman in the rough Atlantic Ocean broke one of his oars and could not return to his homeport. He sought help from the Madonna and the sea miraculously calmed allowing him to reach port safely.”

Read more about the history of Our Lady of Good Voyage here on the Maritime History of Massachusetts website.

gloucester-our-lady-of-good-voyage-winter-snow-c2a9kim-smith-2015church-of-santa-maria-madalena-madalena-do-pico-pico-island-azores-eh9e93Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, Madalena, Pico Island, Azores, Portugal

Church of Santa Maria Magdalena photo courtesy Google image search.

MAKING PIGNULATA WITH GRACE AND NINA AT CAFFE SICILIA

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!

caffe-sicilia-pignulata-nina-copyright-kim-smithThe dough is rolled out, cut into marble-sized bits, and placed in cold oil.

It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for the little marbles to puff up into marshmallow-size and brown evenly.

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caffe-sicilia-pignulata-5-copyright-kim-smithThe 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.

Beautiful❣️(and wonderfully delicious)

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caffe-sicilia-pignulata-maria-copyright-kim-smithAlways-in-motion-Maria!

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.

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

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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

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

VIVA SAN GIUSEPPE FROM THE GROPPO FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

With love and gratitude to the Groppo family and friends. My most heartfelt thanks to all and especially to Nina and Frank.

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BEAUTIFUL COUSINS!

Saint joseph 2016 - 54Beautiful Cousins ~ the Cousin Photo just kept growing larger and larger!

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Novena Ballerina

Madison’s grandmother Geri informs that this was Madison’s idea on how to dress for the Novena! I think it perfect, her colors coordinate beautifully with Nina and Jane’s vibrant pink and orange altar roses.Madison Groppo Novena Gloucester Feast of Saint Joseph -1 Kim SmithMadison Groppo Novena Gloucester Feast of Saint Joseph -2 Kim SmithDSCF8505Waltz of the Flowers

A few more photos here Continue reading