Tuscany boasts, as you know, a top centuries-old culinary tradition, each town also has its own speciies, such as wines, meat based dishes or homemade pasta.
Siena won the competition with other Tuscan cities in confectionery, due to the fragrance of its sweets that you can taste at the bakeries or at the pastry shops that prepare, then as now, delicious sweets based on natural ingredients.
Waiting for the next Christmas we have compiled a guide to the best typical sweets that you should absolutely taste during your stay in Siena!
Ricciarelli, the sweet of Tuscan courts
Credits Ricciarelli: https://www.flickr.com/photos/meimanrensheng/9515022555
Ricciarelli have spread since the XV century and are the first Italian sweet achieving the IGP label; the Christmas period is the most suitable to taste it and we recommend to match these biscuits with the Vin Santo or the wine Moscadello di Montalcino Vendemmia Tardiva.
This sweet is made with fine almonds, sugar and egg white, covered with powdered sugar. Ricciarelli must set aside for two days before baking, in order to fulfill the right softness and maximum fragrance.
Cavallucci, Renaissance delights
Credits cavallucci: http://nicolanatili.it/la-storia-dei-dolci-senesi-biriquocoli-e-cavallucci/
The Renaissance didn’t leave us only works of art of inestimable value, but also sweets once called « berriquocoli » and now known as Cavallucci.
It is likely that this name comes from postal workers, who delivered mail over long distances and ate these cookies on a regular basis.
It is a delicacy ideal to end a meal and is characterized by the taste of the nuts, candied fruit and anise.
The consistency of Cavallucci allows dunking in Vin Santo.
Cantuccini, a timeless classic
Credits cantuccini: http://www.toplifemagazine.it/4400-cantuccini-senesi-al-miele/
These almond biscuits are a must in the Tuscan tradition of sweets in any season, in fact are mentioned in the dictionary of the Accademia della Crusca since 1691!
These cookies are made with flour, sugar, eggs, almonds and pine nuts; their name comes from the Latin « cantellus », which means slice of bread.
To better appreciate the local gastronomic tradition, try the Cantuccini for the aperitif or after dinner.
Panforte, the most popular Senese sweet
Credits panforte: https://www.flickr.com/photos/46904853@N04/6333474958
We have already written about Panforte in the past and couldn’t be otherwise, because it is a product that immediately identifies Siena.
It is said that its origins sink in the XI century, but only two hundred years later, it will become a classic.
Thanks to the arrival of oriental spices, in fact, this cake is made with candied fruit, honey and fine spices, then it will become the symbol of the Town of the Palio, because has 17 ingredients just like the contrade of Siena.
Today there are some variations of the historic recipe, but the Panforte is always a classic dessert that deserves to be tasted in one of the local bakeries or restaurants in order to appreciate its genuine goodness.
If this guide has enticed you, we are sure that you won’t be disappointed by the gastronomic (and strictly homemade) delights of Siena.
Credits preview picture Ricciarelli: By Ricciarelli_from_Siena.jpg: Shaw from Shanghai%u4E0A%u6D77, China derivative work: Saibo(Δ) (Ricciarelli_from_Siena.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons