It’s not easy to list and describe Tuscan desserts: each town has its own traditions and festivities. Here, we seek to provide a useful guide that will allow you to discover the Tuscan delicacies typically consumed over the Christmas period. Are you ready to embark on an experiential journey through almonds, aniseed, candied fruit and sugar?
Ricciarelli di Siena IGP
Ricciarelli di Siena IGP are famous dolcetti made with almonds, sugar and egg whites. According to legend, they were brought to Tuscany by Ricciardetto della Gherardesca on his return from the Crusades.
Panforte of Siena IGP
Panforte di Siena IGP is one of the traditional treats of the Christmas holidays. Ingredients include dried and candied fruit, honey and spices. There are two versions; white, covered with powdered sugar; or black, coated in spices.
Copate of Siena
A typical Christmas dessert in Siena. Copate are made from toasted almonds or walnuts contained between two wafers.
Cavallucci also come from Siena. They are traditional biscuits that were already widespread in the times of Lorenzo Il Magnifico and are made from spices and nuts.
Amaretti santacrocesi are delicious sweets made with almond flour, sugar, eggs and grated lemon zest, typical of Santa Croce sull’Arno. They are prepared to celebrate December 8.
Mandolata of Garfagnana
Mandolata is prepared on December 13 (the feast day of Saint Lucia) in Garfagnana. It’s a kind of brittle made with honey and walnuts.
Panficato of Giglio Island
Panficato is the sweet symbol of the island of Giglio made with figs and walnuts, but also with honey, wine and dried fruit. It’s served with Passito del Giglio or Ansonica.
Befanini are colorful biscuits typical of Lucca and Versilia that are prepared around the Epiphany. Easy to make, they are cut in the shape of a befana (witch), hearts, stars or animals.
While it’s produced regularly throughout the year, it’s the star of the Christmas season. Ricciolina is a typical dessert of the Monte Amiata area, made with chocolate and almonds.
Aniseed biscuits are typical of the village of Roccalbegna, also found in Monte Amiata. They are made in the shape of an intertwined figure of eight and are made with simple ingredients according to the rural tradition.
Photo by Grazziela Bursuc