I love my Italian roots! As an Italian / American my heritage is a core part of who I am. I love the culture, my religion, the food, and of course famiglia! I took Italian classes in college, but I don’t speak the language enough to remember much, but hopefully someday I can learn again!
My grandpa was born in 1890 in Grammichele Sicilia. His name was, Rosario Salvatore Gulizia, (but he went by Sal), son of Sebastiano and Concetta. He married Francesca DiConio in Brooklyn, New York where he came as a teenager to find work. Rosario “ Sal” was a barber and I still have his shears! My youngest daughter also learned the trade! They had 5 boys! Benjamin, Alfonso, Charles, Frank, and my dad; Rosario Jr.
Francesca was born in New York, but her parents were from Naples. Her parents were Alfonso and Filomena DiConio.
I grew up on Long Island, New York. My favorite memories are of the big family and friends pool parties my parents would host in our backyard. I loved to float in the pool with my little ducky innertube ( I was between 2-5 years old.) and all the adults would play with me and my siblings. I also remember sneaking maraschino cherries out of the adult’s cocktails!
I remember the smell of red sauce bubbling on the stove at my grandma’s house and that she always had a dish of Italian candies on the table.
When we had to move to California, I was very sad, but we felt more at home when we found an amazing Italian deli and pizzeria. Whenever I go to an Italian deli or New York style pizza restaurant, I am instantly transported back to my childhood by all the aromas and wonderful Italian products!
My precious mamma taught us kids to all be great cooks and I love to cook for my family and friends. Food is my love language!
After being diagnosed with cancer, I had to quit my career in maternal care, but I am a walking miracle thanks to God and chemo and have been in a long remission! The silver lining to my long cancer journey was getting to spend more time with my 2 daughters, Meagan and Emma. I became a full time volunteer for their activities and all their friends started to call me Mamma!
Once my youngest was ready to graduate high school, and with lots of encouragement from family and friends, I decided to enter a local candy contest and I won! When I was interviewed on TV, they loved my caramels so much, they asked where they could buy them! That was the lightbulb moment for me to start my small sweet business and the rest is history.
My business is called, Sugar Mamma Caramels for 2 reasons:
1. Becasue everyone has called me Mamma for years and being a Mamma to my daughters is the best part of my life.
2. It’s funny!
I specialize in handcrafted, all natural caramels, cookies, chocolates and more. I use only the finest ingredients like ral butter and cream and Sicilian Pistachios.
I love everything about my Italian heritage, especially the food and family! I hope to visit Italy again soon! Ciao amici miei!