desserts—true Christmas classics!
In Italy, every season and holiday is replete with traditional recipes that
have always been testament to this country’s incredible talent for
making good food, and enjoying it!
Christmas is a deliciously perfect example of Italy’s culinary prowess!
In fact, both north and south of the peninsula, there is an infinite variety
of specialties sure to please any food lover on Santa’s list—specialties
whose flavours pay tribute to the rich land from which they were born.
Among the delectable Christmas treats, one can enjoy the renowned Panettone
and Pandoro of Northern Italy, the Panforte and Torroni of Central Italy
and the Struffoli of the southern region.
This year, why not celebrate with Panforte and Struffoli. Discover them
for yourself with the recipes
Panforte or strong bread is eaten mostly in Central Italy but originally
comes from Sienna, in the Tuscany region. History tells us that, originally,
peasants and serfs living and working in convents prepared the bread for
nuns. These honey and spice cakes were so delicious, it wasn’t long
before lay people themselves began enjoying them themselves!
Over time, the preparation of this dessert was passed on from the convents…
to pharmacists (!!!) who were the only ones able to prepare the herb-and-spice-based
medicinal mixtures. This is the reason why many Panforte breads bear the
name of past generations of pharmacist families!
This absolutely delectable cake is made of fresh almonds, candied fruit
(particularly citrus), spices and honey.
It is often served with Vino Santo, a wine at one time produced by Tuscan
This wonderful dessert takes us right to the heart of Naples and its renowned
penchant for sweet treats! Neapolitan pastries, influenced by the successive
waves of Greek, Roman, French, English and Spanish conquerors, are truly
legendary. One need only think of some of the more well-known specialties—Pastiera,
Sfogliatelle, Rum Babà and, of course, Struffoli.
The name Struffoli comes from the Greek “strongulos” which means
“round in shape”—exactly what the balls of dough look
like before they are fried.
These desserts are, in fact, small round doughnuts drenched in honey and
sprinkled with cubed candied fruit that looks like confetti!
These treats used to be prepared in convents, by the sisters of different
religious orders, and distributed to noble families as thanks for acts of
Even though they are usually prepared using the same ingredients, everyone’s
Struffoli is different! Everyone gives it their own special touch, and taste.
One thing is certain, to make good Struffoli, you need good honey—and
just the right amount of it too! But, the true secret to success is keeping
the Struffoli small. The reason is quite simple—the smaller the Struffoli,
the more honey taste you get!
This savoury holiday treats are sure to add an extra dash of Christmas cheer
to your table.
Buon Natale and buon appetito!