With St Valentine’s Day approaching, people start scrabbling about for simple, romantic recipes. In this article, however, we are not going to propose a menu to make for your other half: we are going to talk about some of the myths and traditions around food and drink that pertain to the lovers. What do Tuscan dishes have to do with love stories, we hear you say? Keep reading: you will be surprised!
Let’s go back to the start: what is Sportella? Sportella is a pastry typical of the Island of Elba, and its origins lie in the propitiatory rites of spring. Every year the Festa della Sportella is celebrated at the Santa Caterina in Rio nell’Elba, where the food is blessed and given to the young local women, who then give it to their significant others.
2) Ceremito (or Cerimito)
Originating from the same context as Sportello, Ceremito is another traditional Elban sweet: this time, the young men would give it to their dearly beloved, on Palm Sunday. If the young man then received a reciprocal gift of Sportella over the course of Easter, it meant that the two of them had promised their love to each other.
3) La Nozza di Calcinaia
The Nozza di Calcinaia is a food with a very long history, and was always prepared for local weddings. Its taste is very similar to the famous brigidini of Lamporecchio. It can be eaten on its own or filled with ice cream.
4) Cantuccini di Ponsacco
The cantuccini di Ponsacco were created for the same reason: these biscuits were generally prepared for truly special occasions, such as weddings or town festivals. They are slightly softer than the classic cantuccini, but are still ideally accompanied by a glass of vin santo.