Christmas is coming and of course at Dello Mano it’s all about Chocolate, Brownies, Chocolate gifts and more Chocolate! Our lovely Dello Mano “Elves” will soon be making a number of festive delights and so creating unique Christmas gifts. We put a Dello Mano spin on the jam packed fruits options that we love such as Panforte and our very yum Christmas Pudding Belgian Chocolate Brownie.
So a little about the delicious chocolate Panforte. Everyone knows about the fabulous and rich traditions of Italy and its regions. Thankfully for all of us each of these traditions most always has wonderful food as a significant if not central part of the event. Panforte hails from Siena in Tuscany and is probably its most famous dessert. Originally enjoyed only at Christmas as a festive food it is now available and enjoyed throughout the year. A trip to Siena is a must for food lovers and purchasing the very delicious Panforte is such an easy gourmet gift for friends and family.
There are many recipes for Panforte with the most simplest consisting of dried fruits, nuts, a sugar syrup and just enough flour to hold the fruits and nust together. For those of us that revel in the fruit delights of Christmas, Panforte is a must.
Panforte has an origin that is now legend. According to the Comune Di Siena website, Panforte recipes are passed on through families and communities across generations. There are many varieties of Panforte with the most famous carrying the names of ancient pharmacists who once took on the role of baking the panforte, jealously protecting their recipes and fiercely competing to have the best product available.
As with all food history there are several stories attesting to the beginning of the panforte recipe and as in most cases the stories are so interesting that it really becomes neither here nor there for me as to the exact history. We food lovers tend to just get carried away with the romance of the food and less about proving one way or the other. Truth be known the origins probably lie somewhere in the middle of all the stories.
Legend has it according to the Comune Di Siena that the delicacy of Panforte dates back to the 12th Century. There are a couple of stories of Panforte provenance, one that Panforte was a type of tax to be paid to Nuns of the convent while another claims that a Nun called Sister Berta was concerned about the well being and health of the weakened Sienese people following a siege of the city and so began preparing a high energy dessert made from a mixture of honey, dried fruit, almonds and spicy pepper. (sounds like a muesli bar ad doesnt it?) . The result of Sister Berta’s worry was Panpepato, the first Panforte.
Translated to English Panforte means “strong bread”. All sorts of claims have been made as to the powers of Panforte including that it keeps families together and apparently even keeps husbands and wives from fighting!
We at Dello Mano offer a delicious Panforte at Christmas (and Easter) hand made with quality dried fruits, honey and Belgian Chocolate. It is a great gourmet food gift or a wonderful chocolate gift with a twist.
Now that I know that Panforte is thought to restore peace between husband and wife we’ll make sure that we bake some ASAP and share it while we are building our new Dello Mano kitchen and store – maybe good to reduce stress?