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famiglie e bambini

Nowadays bakeries and cake shops in Florence still offer old-time both sweet and sour delicacies.
In the past we used to have very simple snacks, we can all remember a granny preparing “bread, butter and sugar” or “bread, olive oil and tomato” for us.

i quaresimali

Things have changed today and, hoping those healthy home-made snacks will still endure the merciless attack from commercial snacks for a long time, let’s try a tour round the town’s bakery and cake shop counters, in search of just as tasty a “traditional” alternative snacks.
An all-time classic are undoubtedly the savoury “schiacciatine” (small waffles) with olive oil: at snack time, instead of the usual slice of savoury waffle, in the bakeries round Florence one can ask for a small, round “schiacciatina”, delicious on its own or, for the greediest, sliced-open and stuffed with ham.
Among the savoury snacks, coccoli are small dough balls fried in olive oil. They are usually served as starters with ham  or “stracchino” cheese, but are also delicious on their own for a midday snack.
Please try bomboloni, the Italian doughnuts: filled with cream, jam or chocolate, they are rolled in white sugar and are wonderful!
On the sweet side, most Florentine specialities are connected to special times of the year, but it is not hard to find these products on bakery and cake shop counters at any time of the year. This is the case with Pan di Ramerino, a fragrant, not too sweet, shiny, golden bun with currants and rosemary inside (called “ramerino” in Tuscany). It is typical of Easter, especially of Maundy Thursday (there is also a custom of blessing it and selling it at the end of Mass), but it is easily found at any time of the year, just as the “Quaresimali”, small light biscuits made of flour, sugar, cocoa and whisked egg whites (a “richer” variant requires the use of cracked hazelnuts too). Shaped as the letters of the alphabet, the “quaresimali” are a real unmistakable landmark of Florentine patisserie.
Dulcis in fundo, and no other words would be more appropriate here, there are the pesche (peaches), so called because they actually look like peaches: they are round cakes made of flour, sugar and butter, filled with pastry cream and drenched in “alchermes”, a crimson-coloured liqueur which has been around in Florence ever since the Medici (it was prepared in the Workshop of the friars of Santa Maria Novella and was called “The elixir of life”).
Published: 3/4/2014

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