Christmas sweets from Val D’Orcia
Christmas is the time of year to pamper ourselves and others and you can be sure that in every little Christmas memory there’s the sweet aroma of sugar, cinnamon, wine and honey. For this reason, a bit like Proust, allow us to unleash all those sweet memories of yours through a parade of typical Christmas sweets from Val d’Orcia.
Our local area always has lots of its own delicious raw materials to use, but there are also products that traditionally have reached here from all over the world, thanks in part to the Via Francigena ancient road. For lovers of good food, at Christmas there’s something for all tastes. We start with a magnificent Oil Festival in San Quirico, a real party, where you can not only taste all the all delicacies, but also enjoy cooking shows and other entertainment.
And let’s not forget that the best sweets and desserts are made with new oil. Panforte is a real must, not only to taste and share but then also to take home after your holidays. Dating back to the Middle Ages, when the recipe was kept secret, but above all with its ingredients, and what were in those days, extremely expensive spices, panforte hasn’t changed much over the years but it has been enriched with a few creative touches.
Orange, lemon and melon peel, almonds, honey, vanilla icing sugar, scents that combine to perfection in a unique way, are the secrets of this sweet, also much loved by Queen Margherita. And it’s exactly because of its history and its taste that is so rooted in our territory that panforte was given the IGP mark. We can’t not include in this list at least two other sweets typically eaten during these festivals: cantucci, very well-known and exported everywhere, and ricciarelli.
Made with marzipan pastry, with added candied fruits and vanilla, ricciarelli carry the IGP mark as well. The lozenge-shaped pastry pieces, slightly curled at the ends – which gives them their name – are then sprinkled with icing sugar and given a rice paper bases.
Just one mouthful and you’re a child again!
Cantucci are the VIPs among the biscuits of our area. Irresistible dry almond biscuits they are made by cutting the mix when it is still warm from the oven. Try them with some vin santo and you’ll all feel a little more blessed. We should add that cantucci, too, have obtained the IGP mark. All the prizes they have won are certainly a sign of the passion of the people of Val d’Orcia, of their respect for quality and products’ authenticity. They are a well-deserved corollary for a land that owes everything to its history.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Antica Trattoria Toscana at the old bakery, where you’ll have the chance to try all these sweet Christmas delicacies and much more.