Santa Lucia and the “puoti”

The “puoti” are, especially in Lessinia, the typical sweets of Santa Lucia (13th December) and Christmas. They are called so because they have the shape of a doll, a “puoto” and the legend says that to create them was precisely Santa Lucia, appeared in the form of an old old woman who had asked hospitality to a poor family of Badia Calavena.

The old woman had been surprised by a blizzard and if she had not found shelter she would surely have died. The poor family  shared what little they had with the old wayfarer. It was the night before Santa Lucia and the children were happy because they knew that She would bring them some sweets that night. They also wanted dolls, but it was not possible to satisfy them, because there was no money to buy the dolls. So, when the children went to sleep, the old woman unveiled the recipe of the “puoti” to the lady who had warmly welcomed her. With the “puoti” the children would be satisfied because they would have both the dolls and the desired sweets.

The woman understood that the old lady was Santa Lucia, when she saw her create the “puoti” with a pinch of magic. The flour was not much, but the old woman kept pulling it out in handfuls, as if it were infinite. The eggs were not there and so Santa Lucia took loquats and broke them as if they were eggs and made three egg yolks. The old woman also turned the water into milk and from an empty pot she took a stick of butter. She worked the dough to create three dolls. After having cooked them, Santa Lucia came out and took a little ‘snow, and changed it into powdered sugar.

The last magic was the following morning when the three “puoti” became six, ten, and even more. The whole family was able to feed with those sweets, while the old woman, after the storm, had already left.