If you find yourself in Sicily, gather up all your bravery and make the white-knuckled drive up the sheer cliffs to the ancient town of Erice. Walk the cobblestone streets, take in those breathtaking views of the island's west coast, then get down to business. Go to the paticceria run by Maria Grammatico. Her sweets are impeccable, taste as many as you can. She is the Pastry Queen of Sicily, yet as contributor Lisa Morehouse discovered, Grammatico has an unexpected story to tell. Special thanks to Giovanni Airgahi for translation help in Morehouses's audio story above.

Scroll down for more photos from La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria. Photos courtesy: Lisa Morehouse

 

Maria Grammatico

 

The entrance to La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria in Erice, Sicily.

 

Maria Grammatico shares her knowledge and experience with other pastry makers.

 

Display cases filled with endless varieties of treats fill La Pasticceria di Grammatico Maria.

Maria Grammatico (left) with American-born friend and English translator Mary Taylor Simeti.

 

Lisa Morehouse is an independent radio reporter and producer whose work has appeared on The California Report, The World, and NPR’s Latino USA and Weekend Edition.