“Good food is a celebration of life.” — Sophia Loren, actress
Uh-oh! What do you do when that special event is now just around the corner and you’re sure of only one thing: You want to serve a dessert that’s anything but ordinary.
Celebrating with some popular Italian sweets is a good idea.
Of course, the Italian sweets we’re talking about here are beyond the ever-popular tiramisu, fabulous butter cookies, and the creamy inside, crunchy outside phenomena known as cannoli.
Take a peek at these three Italian sweets below. Each is a festive-looking pastry from one of Italy’s main geographic regions…
… that tastes as good as it looks.
We’ll travel to the cream and berry-loving North, the wheat basket of the Center, and the olive oil-rich South. And by the end of our journey, you’re sure to find at least one among this sweet trio you’ll want to try:
1. NORTHERN ITALY ~ strudel
Many people in Trentino-Alto Adige speak both Italian and German. The region was once part of Austria, its neighbor to the north. As a result, Trentino-Alto Adige and Austria share similar culinary traditions. When it comes to sweets, that means puddings, doughnuts, and strudel.
Classic apple strudel served warm hits the spot when it’s cold outside.
But one made with fresh cherries seems just right for springtime.
2. CENTRAL ITALY ~ rocciata
Umbria, the only landlocked region in central Italy, is the heart of Italy in a geographic sense. It is also il cuore verde d’Italia ~ the green heart of Italy ~ so nicknamed for the multiple shades of green covering its hills, mountains, and valleys.
Do you like to shoot landscapes? Umbria will be your travel photography dream vacation.
But especially if nuts with raisins, cranberries, or some other dried fruit is a favorite snack, visiting Umbria will put you in your happy place.
Umbria’s green-covered hills make it easy for people who enjoy hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities to fall in love with it.
So it makes sense that rocciata, a pastry stuffed with dried fruit and nuts, is one of the region’s most beloved desserts.
Think of it as an elegant trail mix, Italian-style.
3. SOUTHERN ITALY ~ cartellate
The region of Basilicata is the arch in the “boot” that is Italy. Its access to both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas makes for a cuisine influenced as much by nearby Greece as the Byzantine and Arab conquests of Southern Italy’s past.
So even if you somehow manage to bypass the city of Matera and its UNESCO World Heritage site, Sassi (Old Town) ~
~ you still have much to look forward to with the blend of flavors in local dishes.
Cartellate, small fried pastries with arabesque designs is one of these. As dessert fritters go, they are among the prettiest.
Once fried, you dip them in vincotto, a type of fruit syrup.
Or powdered sugar instead, with chocolate or without.
Now, on the other hand, warm honey and cinnamon might be just the thing … you get the idea.
1) If going on an Italian food ramble appeals to you, but you don’t know where to begin, check out this Northern Italian cuisine tour. It could jumpstart your gray matter into coming up with all kinds of culinary travel ideas to plan your trip to Italy around.
Feature image, Fireworks: Celebration of Light by colink; Strudel by fugzu; Cherry Strudel by oksix; Castelluccio di Norcia, Umbria, Italy by Eric Huybrechts; Strudel with Apples by brhlena; L’alba sui sassi di Matera (Dawn on Matera’s Old Town) by BORGHY52; Cartellate alla Locanda by Antica Locanda Alpina.