Fresh pastries and bakery, biscuit, confectionary and pastry products;
1. Product name:
2. Other names:
3. Short product description:
Sportella is a yeasted sweet with twisted ends similar to a pretzel. A boiled egg or the ends of the dough are twisted back into its centre. In the last couple of decades, bakeries and pastry shops have made shortcrust pastry sportelle traditionally shaped like doughnuts and decorated with coloured sugar or as mini sweets in 2-3 ounces.
4. Production area:
Elba Island, province of Livorno
5. Production status:
r disappeared r at risk r active
6. Production process:
There are many ways to prepare a sportella. The original recipe uses a dough similar to that of a schiaccia di Pasqua, sweetened with butter, liquor and flavourings. It’s a sweet dough that’s slow to rise. In other versions, sportelle are made from a shortcrust pastry of flour, sugar, butter, milk, baking powder and egg.
7. Materials, equipment and premises used for production:
s Kitchen utensils
s Oven for baking
8. Notes on traditionalism, homogeneity of spread and persistence of production rules over time:
Couples would share this sweet during the Easter period together with the “ciramito” as it can be shaped into the symbols of the sexes and symbolised fertility for the new season.
In Rio nell’ Elba and Rio Marina, Easter Monday was called the “Festa della sportella” and up until the last century, it was customary to visit the shrine of St Catherine on that day.
Two processions, one from the upper town and one from the lower, would take different paths up the hills and along the narrow trail with the parish priest, townspeople, local band, children with a sportella around their necks and donkeys bearing food and good wine. Everyone would meet on the lawn, and after the ceremony, there would be time for afternoon tea and for the young people to meet. Today you can still try sportella at the shrine of St Catherine on Easter Monday.
Numerous bakeries on the eastern side of Elba make sportella during the Easter period. Production is artisanal, sold locally both to tourists and locals. It’s also sold at the hermitage of St Catherine on the day of the “Sportella” otherwise known as Easter Monday. Today some families still ask for a boiled egg to be placed in the centre of the sportella, although for health and hygiene reasons this practice occurs more often in the home.