Celebrating Santa Lucia with Arancini al Cioccolato

A Sicilian Lifestyle Blog

Arancini al Cioccolato – the sweet version of the infamous Sicilian street food delicacy.

A rice ball with a fondant filling known to derive from the Arabic settlement where cooked meat was encased in cooked rice and then breadcrumbed to be transported safely during travelling and then baked when required to eat heating up the rice and meat which was protected by the breadcrumbs which were then dispersed of once reheated through.

This is one version of the history of the creation of the Arancini, we know there are many versions as well as the feud between Palermo and Catania on its name; is it feminine Arancine or masculine Arancino? We are from the centre of Sicily, so we are adaptable to the name change wherever we go as long as it tastes good!

Now back to the sweet version, commonly eaten in Palermo on the 13th December for the celebration day of Santa Lucia patron saint of Siracusa, south east Sicily. You will find in Siracusa, Palermo & Trapani Arancini are commonly eaten on this day as bread and pasta are not eaten due to the story of the wheat shortage back in the 1600’s.

It is known that on the 13th December 1646 Santa Lucia saved Sicily from a period of famine where it was said a ship arrived loaded with wheat to the ports of Palermo & Siracusa and to commemorate this event on this day flour products are usually not eaten.

Another dish lesser known than the Arancini eaten on this day is Cuccìa where the famine had become too much so once the wheat arrived part of it was boiled and cooked with Ricotta for an instant meal and the rest was grown and harvested to create flour.

To celebrate this day we share our Chocolate Arancini recipe with you (although as times have adapted there is a touch of flour and breadcrumbs used in this recipe).

Buon appetito!