If you are a subscriber to ItalianNotebook, you are probably a lover of Italy and its wonderful cuisine. If, on top of that, you have a sweet tooth and an eye for beauty, Stella Ricci’s pasticceria in Montesarchio, near Benevento, is the holy grail of pastry, and a place of sweet, reverent pilgrimage.
At any time of the year, this is a wonderland of sights and smells that will satisfy the most refined palate. Not only are the ingredients of the highest quality, but the creativity and attention to detail, presentation and packaging are an elegant delight. If invited to dinner or tea, one can be sure that bringing a box of Stella’s desserts will light up the expression of the most discerning host.
At the end of November Stella and her helpers are already gearing up for Christmas with delectable seasonal creations. There are chocolate Christmas trees and gingerbread cookies, roccocò and mostaccioli. But on December 1st she starts producing her version of panettoni.
The original 19th century cupola-shaped sweet loaf from Milan, calls for a mixture of flour, water, egg yolks, honey and butter with the addition of candied fruit, orange rind and raisins in equal measure. Stella’s past variations have included peaches and champagne, panettoni laced with almond paste and Strega liquer, while her all-time favourite is baked with figs and walnuts.
So, you ask, what is her recipe? Well, start with 70 lbs. of flour, 110 egg yolks and 5 lbs. of butter…
Auguri to Stella, whose incredible work was rightfully acknowledged on national television a few days ago. Thanks for letting us visit you at your pasticceria!