Italian Christmas Cakes

Italians love to celebrate Christmas with seasonal recipes and typical dishes that they enjoy sharing around the table with family and friends. For those of you with a sweet tooth, we have a selection of sumptuous Christmas sweet delicacies from Maremma, Tuscany and Italy in general!

Christmas Cakes From Maremma

Maremma Cakes! Photos from and
Maremma Cakes! Photos from and
  • Pagnottella di Natale: this Christmas Loaf is typical of the sea village of Porto Santo Stefano. Ingredients include dry figs, almonds, raisins, walnuts and hazelnuts (recipe).
  • Castagnaccio di Saturnia: This chestnut flour cake is a typical autumnal dessert in Maremma. However, the area of Saturnia – famous for the thermal hot springs – has a particular Christmas version, too (recipe).

Christmas Desserts From Tuscany

Ricciarelli by Shaw (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Ricciarelli by Shaw (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Panforte: This dessert dates back to the 13th century in Siena. Documents from 1205 show that panforte was paid to the monks and nuns of a local monastery as a tax, perhaps for its rich and quality ingredients. This chewy cake features honey, coriander, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Ricciarelli: Traditional Italian biscuit originating in the 14th century in Siena, made using an almond base with sugar, honey and egg white. The rough and crackled surface is usually lightly sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Cavallucci: a rich Italian Christmas pastry made with anise, almonds, candied fruits, coriander, and flour. These chewy biscuits traditionally use Tuscan millefiori honey as an essential ingredient in the paste.

Christmas Sweet Breads From Around Italy

  • Panettone: is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan. It has a dome shape and contains candied orange, citron, lemon zest, and raisins.
  • Pandoro: a delicious yeast bread originally from Verona, traditionally shaped like a star with 8 points and served dusted with vanilla scented icing sugar.
  • Pangiallo: this golden yellow bread is typical of Rome and its surroundings, and features nuts, spices, raisins and candied fruit such as lime peel.
  • Pandolce: originating in Genoa, this fruit cake is made with sultanas, currants or raisins, glacé cherries, almonds, and candied orange peel.

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