Typical Christmas Cakes and Sweets from Tuscany
Christmas is coming! Are you ready to eat? All tables of Tuscany will be filled with delicious local dishes: croutons with chicken liver, lasagne, wild boar with olives, good Chianti red wine, and all sorts of Tuscan Christmas sweets and cakes.
That’s the Christmas Menu I’m going to prepare!
If you’ve never tried a typical Christmas cake from Tuscany, now is the time to do it!
Here follows a list of the most Typical Christmas Cakes and Sweets from Tuscany, Bon appetite! and have a Merry Christmas!
The Ricciarelli are typical sweets from Siena made with almond paste. Their origin dates back to the Middle Ages, they are delicate and tasty, and are prepared by chopping the almonds and adding sugar, egg whites and honey, are dusted with powdered sugar and baked in the oven. Fantastic! My favorite Christmas cake!
The Panforte Margherita was prepared for the first time in the year 1879 on occasion of the visit of Queen Margherita to Siena to see the Palio race. It’s a modification of the most ancient panpepato, as it uses sugar instead of pepper as a decoration. The Panforte is made using candied fruits, sweet almonds, hazelnuts, spices, honey and flour.
Typical cake from Siena with very ancient origins, that go as far as the 11th century!
Among all the types of panforte, panpepato cake is more rustic, and probably also the oldest. It was born in monasteries where monks mingled the various ingredients, including spices, like cinnamon, which give the panpepato its characteristic “strong” taste.
Cavallucci and Berriquocoli
The origins of these cookies again go back to the Middle Ages, when pharmacists, speziali in Italian, mixed poor ingredients such as flour, with other more noble ones, such as candied fruits and nuts, resulting in a very particular taste. Cavalucci are rustic cookies made with sugar, flour, hazelnuts, candied orange and anise seeds.
More rich and tasty are the berriquocoli that are adorned with candied citron and nuts.
Cantuccini di Prato
The cantuccini, one of the most traditional dessert from Tuscany, are delicious dry biscuits with almonds, and are dunked in Vin Santo, a great sweet wine.
The origin probably dates back to the early Middle Ages, when Cantuccini were offered on festive occasions with Vin Santo to people that were leaving for long pilgrimages or had to support particularly heavy work.
The Copata is a round sweet of very ancient origin, we can define it the “Torrone di Siena”, it is prepared with sugar, honey, egg white and finely chopped almonds; the pastry is then pressed by hand between two hosts. This is a lesser known sweet but incredibly tasty!
Cialde di Montecatini
Though not a typical Christmas sweet, I also highly recommend you try these cialde or wafers, typical specialty of Montecatini Terme, renowned thermal destination in Tuscany. Only few pastry chefs in the city produce this delicacy, that was born in the first half of the twentieth century.
The cake looks like a thin disc and is extremely friable, it is made of two layers of wafer and has a filling of finely chopped almonds and sugar. They are traditionally accompanied with ice cream, chocolate, coffee, tea, and spirits like the traditional Vin Santo. Do try them!
Have you ever tasted one of these delicious Christmas sweets?