Over time Panforte became a refined product offered by aristocrats, the very rich and the clergy on important occasions, such as Christmas. The cake was made by spice sellers, who were the pharmacists of the day and it contained ingredients like orange, citrus, melon, almonds and expensive spices. Panforte was held in high regard not only as a food but also as a cure by virtue of the presence of spices in its dough.
Thanks to the Via Francigena the product also spread outside the territory of Siena. The recipe for panpepato remained unaltered over the centuries until 1879, the year when Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Siena. In honour of her visit, a local spice seller made a version of the cake without melon and with a layer of vanilla-flavoured sugar on top instead of black pepper. The people of Siena gave this 'white' version of panforte to Queen Margherita and called it 'Panforte Margherita' in her honour. This more delicate version is the one still sold today. The consistency is soft, the flavor is sweet, with an aftertaste of candied fruit, almonds and a hint of spice. In 2014 Panforte from Siena obtained the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) European designation of quality label.
In Siena many families still prepare it at home, thus it's possible to still find many different recipes for homemade panforte and even if the list of ingredients is long the preparation method is quite simple. Here is Alice del Re recipe from Pane, libri e nuvole food blog: