Panforte di Siena, panforte di Massa Marittima

Fresh pastries and bakery, biscuit, confectionary and pastry products;

1. Product name:
Panforte di Siena, panforte di Massa Marittima

2. Other names:
Panforte di Siena is also called panforte bianco, nero, margherita

3. Short product description:
Panforte is a round, thin and compact sweet cake. It can be white or black coloured depending on whether it’s dusted with icing sugar or cocoa. It has a rough surface that rests on a thin wafer. It tastes strongly of spices and candied fruit and is slightly gummy on the palate. It’s made in different-sized pieces. It’s a traditional Sienese product, although it has, over time, spread to Massa Marittima in the province of Grosseto, where it is made for all the festivals.

4. Production area:
Province of Siena and municipality of Massa Marittima, province of Grosseto.

5. Production status:
r disappeared r at risk r active

6. Production process:
To prepare the white panforte, flour, sugar, candied orange and lime, honey, vanilla and cinnamon are mixed. For the black panforte, candied melon is used in the place of lime and cocoa and chilli are added. The pieces of panforte are shaped by hand. Icing sugar is dusted over the white panforte, cocoa over the black. It’s baked at 200°C and packaged by hand. The panforte margherita and panforte di Massa Marittima are made in the same way as the white panforte.

7. Materials, equipment and premises used for production:
s Workspace
s Electric mixer
s Oven

8. Notes on traditionalism, homogeneity of spread and persistence of production rules over time:
Panforte owes its traditional character to its combination of ingredients, which are typical to Sienese pastry making, and the unique preparation method, which has remained unchanged over time thanks to the dexterity and skill of the people who have honed their experience throughout history. Artisan panforte is different to its industrial fellow not only in its appearance (as the pressing and shaping are done by hand), but also in the way in which the candied fruit is made. The old method uses fermentation, and more recently, osmosis to transform the fruit into super sweet glass treats. There is an interesting story behind the name panforte. Up until the High Middle Ages, it was tradition to prepare a special type of simple focaccia with wheat flour and water, sweetened with honey, called “melatello”, and seasonal fruit like figs, grapes, plums and apples. The fresh fruit was simply sliced and mixed into the dough, and it was baked in a moderate oven so as to not dry out. As a result, the fruit didn’t entirely dehydrate and in the warm and humid months gave the bread a sour flavour that saw it renamed “pan forte” or “sour bread”. The panforte margherita was created in 1879 when Margaret of Savoy and her husband Umberto I, the then sovereigns of Italy, went to Siena for the Palio. To mark the occasion, a delicate “white panforte” was presented to the queen and renamed “panforte Margherita” in her honour. It’s enjoyed with vin santo or the Moscadello di Montalcino.

9. Production:
The production of panforte is widely spread across the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, from large-scale bakeries in Siena to the smaller ones scattered across the Grosseto territory. In these areas, production, as well as being dependent on consumer awareness (now lacking), is closely tied to tourism. Panforte is mostly made from October to December, and quantities are around 6,000 tonnes a year. A small part of this is exported, mostly to the United States of America and United Kingdom.

Fresh pastries and bakery products, biscuits, pastry and confectionery
Production area

Provincia di Siena e comune di Massa Marittima, provincia di Grosseto.