Cantuccini and Vin Santo
Tiramisu is probably the most well-known Italian dessert while it also comes with its Florentine version known as zuccotto. But if you plan on visiting Tuscany, you will see that the popular one in this area is the cantuccini paired with vin santo. This delicious dessert is made up of small almond biscuits dipped in a sweet wine as a meal digestif.
The cantuccini is baked in a flat long loaf that is cooked in an oven first and once done, it will be sliced into discs before it will be cooked for a second time to make the biscotti, meaning “twice cooked. “
As for the Vin Santo, it is a glass of wine that is cultured in amber and is handmade by drying the grapes of straw mats before they will be fermented in oak barrels. This process will add more intensity to the grapes’ sweetness. When translated to English, Vin Santo would mean “holy wine”, and the reason why it got that name is that they believed it was used in mass during the Renaissance period. But the other explanation for the divine name is because of its heavenly taste.
Another delicacy that you should check out when you’re in Tuscany is the seasonal schiacciata fiorentina. This dessert is a sponge cake that is dusted with icing sugar and cocoa with the shape of a Florentine lily. It is popular and widely served during the Carnival, schiacciata con l’uva, wherein it takes place in late summer and early autumn. This dessert also comes in an autumn version wherein it is a flat bread sweetened with ripe red grapes. It is recommended to be eaten just days after it was baked since it is enough time for the grapes’ sweet juices to soak into the dough.
This stunning fruit cake is comprised of candied nuts and fruit then combined with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. This is the dessert that Siena specializes in and its origins dated back to the medieval period when honey was used as a substitute to conserve the fruits in the region during the winter season. During the middle ages, spices were used in the dishes and then in candied fruits later on. The panforte also comes with a contemporary version and is sold throughout Florence and Siena. It is usually served as a flat round cake and sliced into tiny wedges then enjoyed with some vin santo. You will surely keep your day going when you indulge in this energy-packed dessert.
It is a famous Italian ice cream and is probably known as the best in the world. In Tuscany, there are lots of Gelateria scattered all throughout the region. But if you want to try the best one yet, you should go for gelato artiginale wherein they serve artisan ice cream or a produzione propria which is a homemade ice cream. You should stay away from Gelateria that serves vividly-cultured, industrially produced ice cream since they don’t stick to the true Italian principles of using a natural or fresh produce. If you’re not sure of your choices, then you should give the banana gelato a try. This gelato has a greyish-yellowish tinge compared to an artificial looking bright yellow. The same thing goes for the pistachio flavor wherein you should look for a light sage color compared to a bright green one.
When buying your gelato, you should select your cone or cup first then it will be filled with the delicious ice cream. If ever you have a tough time deciding on the flavor, you can always have more than one scoop.
Apart from the gelato, you should also consider the sorbetto wherein it is a delicious fresh fruit sorbet and is popular amongst Italians as well. There is also the semi-freddo which is a mousse-type ice cream, but there’s no guarantee that everyone will like it since it is made with raw eggs.
Brigidini di Lamporecchio
This dessert is produced in Pistoia. It is made of fragrant crispy waffles that have a diameter of 7cm and comes with a distinct golden orange color. It is made using a recipe that comprises of eggs, flour, a bit of flour and water, and fennel or anise seeds. This is commonly sold on the streets usually during fairs or festivals. You can enjoy it with a fresh Brigidini of Lamorecchio that is cooked using special machines.
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