This month our GustiBus cannot fail to focus on one of the most traditional Sicilian Christmas sweets, the buccellato! We will talk about its origins and ingredients starting to taste the goodness of the Sicilian sweets of the Christmas holidays.
The Buccellato is known throughout Italy with more or less similar names, and the same can be said of the ingredients that are used. But as for most Sicilian sweets, also in this case the Arab influence was crucial for the Sicilian variant.
It is believed that the origins of buccellato in Sicily can be traced back to the arrival in the region of the Lucca community, in the Middle Ages: it is called “buccellato”, in fact, after a typical dessert of the Lucca area filled with raisins, in turn deriving from a dessert from the Roman era, which was prepared precisely during the holiday season.
In addition to raisins, with the Arabs the recipe for buccellato (or “cuciddato”) was enriched with the typical ingredients of Sicilian sweets, such as oranges, almonds, cinnamon and dried figs, giving a spicy touch to the taste of the dessert, strong and enveloping, perfect for Christmas. Its appearance has also been enriched with decorations, sugars and candied fruit up to the current version which has the shape of a donut, placed as a centerpiece during family lunches and dinners.
The variety of shapes and ingredients of buccellato change among different areas within Sicily: being a traditionally homemade dessert, the recipe for its aromatic filling can also vary from family to family, making it even more connected to the context of family conviviality that the Holidays represent.
For those who travel in Sicily for the first time during the holidays, a visit to a bakery or pastry chef to taste one of the countless versions of the buccellato is almost a must to fully understand our region, sweet but spicy, apparently rough on the outside but soft inside!