Holiday Sweets

December 19, 2011 / Food & Wine
There’s no end to the quantities and type of holiday sweets that are available, and consumed, only over the Christmas and New Year holidays in Italy. This period consists of meal after meal shared with friends and family, and no meal is complete without these special treats, nor does one accept an invitation to a home without bringing at least one of these as well as a bottle of prosecco, a light bubbly white Italian wine from the Veneto area in North-Eastern Italy.

This shop’s two windows are perfect as they contain most of the traditional ones: panettone, pandoro, pangiallo, panpepato, panforte, parrozzini, spongata, marzapane ripieno, amaretti, panetto, etc. each of infinite varieties, fillings, sizes, toppings, etc. Then there are the numerous torrone varieties: soft, hard, brick, loaf, covered in white, milk, or dark chocolate, with or without pistachio crumble, and again hazel nuts and chocolate only varieties, of all sizes and types once again!

With the number of them turning up at each dinner, you would think it would be hard to work your way through them all . . but they get eaten. Remember meals are 4-5 hour affairs, ending with quite a few rounds of traditional holiday card and board games. All the time in the world to over-indulge in sweets for now . . . there’s plenty of time before New Year’s resolutions!


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

13 Responses to “Holiday Sweets”

  1. giuseppe spano (jojo)
    giuseppe spano (jojo)

    How much I love those gatherings, and with every breath Gioia and I try to keep them alive with our 7 children and their mates,our 13 grand children and 3 great-gran children along with my siblings 8 and zii, cugini and on and on and food and laughter and debates and music and love. We must make this last!

  2. Paula (Giangreco) Cullison

    I am on my way to the local Italian bakery right now. Their family recipies have traveled a long way over the last 100 years … from Sicily to New York City and now Phoenix, AZ :-) Tanti Auguri a Tutti

  3. Oh, where is that shop. Hopefully in Rome or Florence. Would love to visit them

  4. Rosemary

    Bellissimi! We were fortunate to have spent two Christmases in Italy! One in the Naples area and one in Sicily! It was truly incredible! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Cindi Petrone Shipley

    Love love love this! The shop windows in Italy especially for holidays are the best! We were there for this past Easter and it was glorious!

  6. hebegb

    @ Madeline: The shop is in Rome. Via Natale del Grande, on the corner of Piazza San Cosimato, in Trastevere.

  7. Anne Robichaud

    GB / enjoyed the note and wonderful photos. Margie, you like chocolate torrone, I note – limoncello and chestnut torroni landed in my shopping basket today. (How to resist?)

  8. Benito Gregorutti

    You left out Cubana from eastern Friuli.
    Thanks for these daily reminders of Italy.
    Merry Christmas And continue in the New Year.

  9. The name of the store is Innocenzi, and it’s a great place to buy nuts, spices, and an assortment of foods for homesick Americans (maple syrup, Duncan Hines cake mix, peanut butter, and lots more). At Thanksgiving they had canned Libby pumpkin for your pumpkin pie filling and Crisco for the crust. Not to be confused with Innocenti, the fantastic biscottificcio that’s also in Trastevere but in a different area.


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