Bologna, much like other charming Italian cities, boasts a rich culinary heritage filled with traditional dishes that have tantalised taste buds for generations. While many may be familiar with the city's savoury delights, Bologna's Italian desserts are equally delightful and deserve a spotlight.
I have the privilege of growing up near this beautiful city, and you'll be delighted to discover that many of the flavours reminiscent of Bologna can be found within the delicate spun-sugar shells of Lavolio confectionery. Join me on a delectable journey as I introduce you to five authentic Italian desserts from Bologna that continue to be lovingly handcrafted and can be savoured in artisan boutiques across the city.
1. Torta di Riso: A Sweet Rice Cake
Torta di Riso, also known as the "Cake of Decorations," was born in Bologna and has earned its place as a national dessert. Its origins trace back to the XVII century when it was created for the religious festivities of Corpus Domini, featuring colorful drapes adorning the streets of Bologna as decorations. The original recipe incorporates sugar, rice, candied cedar, almonds, lemon, and maraschino liqueur, or sometimes alchermes. It's a taste reminiscent of Lavolio's Fruit Garden confectionery.
2. Pan Speziale: A Sweet Bread with a Rich History
Pan Speziale, often referred to as "apothecary bread" due to its rich use of spices, is another cherished sweet dish from Bologna. Locally, it goes by the name Certosino, as it was prepared by the monk-bakers of the Certosa di Bologna during the Middle Ages. This delightful treat features candied fruits, sugar, honey, flour, raisins, almonds, pine nuts, chocolate, cinnamon, aniseed, and cloves – much like the flavours found in Lavolio's gift boxes.
3. Pinza Bolognese: Pastry Filled with Jam
A festive season favorite, Pinza Bolognese, is a unique pastry encasing a tangy jam made from oranges, quinces, pear quinces, and sugar. This rustic dessert pairs wonderfully with wine, coffee, and tea, much like Lavolio chocolates. The official recipe dates back to 1644 and includes almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, dried figs, cocoa, and rum.
4. Sweet Mustard Delight: Raviole di San Giuseppe
Raviole of San Giuseppe, a sweet dish that celebrates St. Joseph on March 19th, features mustard-filled discs of dough. Their beauty lies in their simplicity, with mustard being the star ingredient. No other embellishments are needed to enhance their flavour.
5. Dulcis in Fundo! Zuccherini Montanari
Last but certainly not least, we have the charming "Zuccherini Montanari" or "Little Mountain Sugars." These famous crumbly biscuits hail from the culinary tradition of Emilia Romagna's mountains and were originally created for hillside weddings and celebrations. Tradition dictates that they must be dunked in tea, and their secret lies in a glaze crafted through the slow boiling of sugar and aniseed, which infuses them with their delightful aroma.
Have you had the pleasure of experiencing these delicious Italian desserts from Bologna before? If not, they are an absolute must-try when you visit Italy. In the meantime, treat yourself or a loved one to the delightful handmade Lavolio sweets and chocolates that capture the essence of Bologna's sweet traditions.