Seasonal countryside products are the hallmark of the Maremma’s culinary tradition, and are classic symbols of historical feasts and local celebrations. Many local desserts are famous all around Tuscany, while others are lesser known... but no less delicious. Enjoy this sweet sampler of 5 iconic desserts in the Maremma.
A guest post by #Maremmans
Zuccherini are a type of small, donut-shaped biscuit, often prepared to celebrate weddings or first communions. Maremman-style zuccherini are made with yeast, sugar, flour, oil, milk, lemon and vanilla and are covered in sugar.
Following peasant tradition, January is pig-slaughtering season. The pigs will then be used in cooking for the winter to come. The pig’s lard, for example, is used to make desserts like ciaccia coi ciccioli. This is a sweet schiacciata flatbread containing flour, yeast, lard and lean meat, served with a sprinkling of sugar on top.
According to popular belief, when the holy family arrived in Egypt, Saint Joseph had to sell rice fritters to help the family make ends meet in a foreign land. Frittelle di San Giuseppe are traditional sweets made for the annual "Torciata di San Giuseppe," an ancient festival linked to the ritual fire that takes place in Pitigliano on March 19. For perfect rice fritters, remember to cook the rice in milk, then add eggs, flour, sugar, butter, lemon peel and vin santo, and fry it all in very hot oil.
Topi, from Castell'Azzara, are crunchy biscuits, perfect for all kinds of regional celebrations. They're made with honey and nuts and have a delicious orange peel and cinnamon scent.
Wherever there are topi, you'll also find taglioli, long biscuits about 4-5 cm in width. The flavour is strong and spicy, with a bit of a bite from black pepper, walnuts and honey. Monte Amiata miners used to snack on these, accompanied by a small glass of wine.
At certain times of year, you can enjoy the local "Teatro del Topone" performances around various towns in the Maremma. During a show called "Taglioli, topi e tagliole," actors distribute taglioli and topi biscuits to the audience.