Today is St. Lucia’s Day, a day I have always associated with Scandinavia, though St. Lucia’s Day is also a big deal in parts of Italy. She is particularly venerated in Sicily, where she is the patron saint of Siracusa. One of the typical dishes you would eat for the Feast of Santa Lucia, and throughout the Christmas season, in Italy is Cuccìa. Cuccìa is a dish made of boiled wheatberries and sugar, and can have a variety of other add-ins including almonds ricotta, candied fruit, chocolate, or even chickpeas. I am not a major fan of porridges, but I have never tried wheat berries in this context, so I think I am willing to give it a try! According to tradition, no wheat is eaten on St. Lucia’s Day except for the Cuccìa. You can find a variety for sweet or (more rarely) savory Cuccìas, but feel free to improvise your own. Here are some versions from Slow Food, Mama Lisa and Serious Eats (pictured below). Don’t forget the accent on the I when you are searching though, without the accent, the word “cuccia” means “dog’s bed!”
Photograph: Vicky Wasik for Serious Eats
We are pretty fond of the Swedish way of taking coffee, Fika, and we also love their idea of the “cake table” aka kaffebröd or fikabröd which accompanies this traditional Swedish fika coffee break. A cake table typically includes cakes (obviously), cookies, pastries and other sweet treats. We think that a full fika with cakes and cookies is the perfect way to celebrate St. Lucia’s day, a holiday celebrated in Sweden on December 13th. Here are some top picks that we think would be perfect on any holiday table (or just for fun):
St. Lucia’s Day is a Swedish holiday that occurs on December 13th, marked by feasts and candles. Despite it being pretty dark in Sweden in the weeks leading up the Christmas, St. Lucia’s day and Advent as a whole are a great time of celebration filled with lots of light. We have written about some sweet treats like Lussekatter and pepparkakor that are used to celebrate the holidays in Sweden, but if you need some warming up the best prescription is Glögg, a mulled red wine. Glögg is so integral to the holiday season, there are dedicated “Glögg parties.” While you can buy Glögg at many stores, it is definitely more fun to make your own.
Glogg by Aya Patron
Little known fact: One of the Eaters is partially Swedish – and though we are not particularly keen on Swedish food – there is no denying the appeal of the delicious cookies and pastries served on St. Lucia’s Day. One of the most traditional are the Lussekatter – saffron sweet rolls. The name means “Lucy’s Cats” – but these leavened yeast rolls are figure-8 shaped. And here are even some Gluten-free versions of traditional St. Lucia items – something for everyone.
It’s that time of year again – St. Lucia’s Day. Up here in Madison the weather has been particularly chilly and snowy – no wonder Scandinavian immigrants were able to thrive here! Reading Sweden’s official website – it was quite entertaining to hear Sweden described as “a culture of food storage.” I guess that makes sense, given the generally inclement weather. If you’re house-bound like us, baking some sweet treats for a traditional St. Lucia’s day feast is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. The Thrifty Fun site has some recipes for Braided St. Lucia’s Day Bread, Pepparkakor and Julglogg. Perhaps the most iconic treat for St. Lucia’s day is Lussekatter, saffron-scented rolls.
Happy St. Lucia’s Day! St. Lucia’s day is the day dedicated to the Sicilian martyr St. Lucy, and is traditionally celebrated in Sweden on December 13th, and represents the start of the holiday season. Like most other winter holidays, St. Lucia’s Day boasts some unique treats, especially in Sweden: saffron buns (lussekatt) and gingersnap cookies (pepparkakor). On St. Lucia Day in Sweden, a long-running tradition is that girls dress in white with crowns of candles (electric nowadays for kids) and serve their parents lussekatt, as seen in the painting below.Here are recipes to make your own pepparkakor and lussekatt, if you’d like to try.St. Lucia by Carl Larsson 
It’s St. Lucia day, the kickoff to the holiday season in Sweden, If you’re feeling festive in Chicago, you can get some fresh-baked Pepparkakor at one of the best Swedish bakeries in Chicago, the aptly-named Swedish Bakery (5348 N Clark St # 1, Chicago, IL 60640).
Pepparkakor by ProBonoBaker