2nd of November: U Juornu re Muorti

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Today is "U juornu re muorti", the day when the church remembers with special celebrations those who are no longer alive, people visit the cemetery taking flowers and candles to the graves of dead relatives and friends, and, in Sicily, children find presents `brought' to them by the "muorti".

Now as I am no longer a child and could not expect any toys, I got myself something even better: sweet made by Benedictine nuns in Modica.

For decades in Sicily, convents have been the centre of creation and production of sweets which became famous all over the world. Described in novels, recipes and history books, the art of pastry-making of Sicilian convents takes a central place in the history of our culinary tradition.

Just think about the traditional fruit shaped marzipan of today's celebration, "Frutta Martorana" which takes the name after the Monastero della Martorana in Palermo where it was created for the first time.

Nowadays, vocations crisis has hit Sicilian convents too, the number of nuns is growing smaller and smaller, and I fear the pastry-making tradition of the nuns is close to its end.
This is why I try to support the nuns who are still working the magic in the kitchen. When I eat their wonderful sweet, I feel like I am enjoying the taste of history.

In today's tray: Frutta Martorana in the shape of peaches, Olivette di Sant' Agata, Torrone di campagna, Biscotti di mandorle e Dolce Savoia.

Sicilian sweets

Lovely! I have visited Erice and have cooked from Maria Grammatico's book, including bringing back citrons from Sicily - want to come back. We came to Modica but only for a few hours. Thank you for you newsletter, which keeps us in touch.

Maria Grammatico

I love her book too, she offers a true insite into convent life, which was also hard and terrible for certain aspects at the time. Today, the athmosphere is different, however, recipes
were and are still fantastic though!

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