Cantuccini and Vin Santo
Perhaps the most well-known Italian dessert is tiramisu, the Florentine version of which is named zuccotto. However, visitors to the region of Tuscany will soon learn that it is cantuccini with vin santo that is the most popular in this area. This delicious dish consists of small almond biscuits that are dipped into a sweet wine as an end of meal digestif.
Cantuccini are baked in a flat long loaf that is first cooked in an oven and then sliced into discs before being cooked a second time to make biscotti, which literally translates as “twice cooked.”
Vin Santo is an amber-cultured wine that is still handmade in many areas by drying the grapes on straw mats before they are fermented in oak barrels. This process intensifies the sweetness of the grapes, and The English translation of vin santo is “holy wine,” and it is largely believed that it earned this name during the Renaissance period when it was used in mass. However, an equally viable explanation is that its divine name is derived from its heavenly taste.
Another delicacy of the region that is well worth checking out is the seasonal schiacciata fiorentina, a sponge cake dessert that is lightly dusted with icing sugar and cocoa in the shape of a Florentine lily. It is particularly popular around the Carnival time, schiacciata con l’uva, which takes place during late summer and early autumn. The autumn version of the desert is a flat bread that is sweetened with ripe red grapes. It is best consumed a couple of days after it was baked, when then sweet juices of the grapes have had time to soak into the dough.
Panforte is a stunningly rich fruit cake that is made with candied nuts and fruit in combination with cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, and vanilla. It is a specialty of the Sienna region, and its roots can be traced back to the medieval period when honey was used to conserve the fruits of the region for the winter period. In the middle ages, the spices were introduced into the dishes and, later, candied fruits. The contemporary version of panforte is sold throughout Siena and Florence. It is typically served in the form of a flat round cake that is cut into tiny wedges and enjoyed with the delicious vin santo. It is a dense energy-packed dessert that will keep you going throughout the day.
Gelato, Italian ice cream, has earned itself a reputation for being the best in the world. Gelateria can be found throughout Tuscany. However, to sample the best of the best, keep an eye out for gelato artiginale, which serve artisan ice cream, or produzione propria, homemade ice cream. Be sure to avoid the Gelateria that stock vividly-cultured, industrially produced ice cream that is not made according to the true Italian principles of fresh or natural produce. If you’re unsure, take a look at the banana gelato. Authentic gelato will have a greyish-yellowish tinge as opposed to an artificial looking bright yellow. The same is true of the pistachio flavor. Look for a light sage color as opposed to a bright green.
First, select your cono (cone) or coppa (cup) and then the delicious gelato with which to fill it… if you find it difficult to choose the flavor, fear not, you can have more than one.
The sorbetto, delicious fresh fruit sorbet, is also very popular, as is semi-freddo, which is a mousse-type ice cream that is not suitable for everyone because it is made with raw eggs.
Brigidini di Lamporecchio
The Brigidini of Lamporecchio, which is produced in the province of Pistoia, are fragrant crispy waffles of around 7 cm in diameter that have a distinct golden orange color. They are made using a historic recipe of sugar, eggs, a little flour and water and fennel or anise seeds. You will find them being sold on the streets during festivals and fairs and can enjoy fresh Brigidini of Lamporecchio that are cooked to order with special machines.
Read About Chianti Classico Wine
Read About Via Francigena In Tuscany
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