Tuscan sweets, cakes and biscuits are legendary. Most bars and pastry shops have a list of goodies as long as your arm and as deep as your appetite. Got a sweet tooth? You’ve come to the right place.
Explore Tuscany‘s pasticcerie or bakeries and you won’t be disappointed. Apart from the usual suspects like brioche that are found everywhere in Italian bars, you’ll find plenty of specialities with a distinctly Tuscan twist.
These are easily found. Dried, hard biscuits made with almonds and usually served at the end of a meal. They are best appreciated when dipped in Vinsanto (Tuscan sweet wine). Modern versions use chocolate bits as well as almonds. They are traditionally from Prato, where you can still find the oldest producer.
Almond flavoured soft biscuits covered in icing sugar. Typically eaten over the Christmas period, they can be found in Siena all year around and make a perfect festive bite. In Siena you’ll also find Panforte, a kind of chewy Christmas cake, with plenty of dried fruits and nuts (canditi).
Typical of Lamporecchio, a small town near Vinci in the province of Florence. This is a round thin yellow wafer usually sold in narrow transparent packets. They have a delicate aniseed flavour. You’ll find them at many local festivals, and often in sweet shops.
Torta della nonna (Granny’s cake)
A delicious shortcrust pastry (pasta frolla), buttery and filled with soft custard cream and sprinkled with pine nuts and icing sugar. Good at any time of the day, and perfect as a dessert.
Torta co’ Bischeri
Pisa area. Cake made with shortcrust pastry and filled with chocolate, rice and nuts. Flavoured with liqueur.
Schiacciata con l’uva
Another seasonal treat. During vendemmia or the grape harvest in September, some of the grapes find their way into this special “grape flat bread”. Black grapes are stuffed into the dough, seasoned with olive oil and rosemary and sprinkled with sugar. The pastry itself is not overly sweet and makes a perfect afternoon snack.
A thin cake made with chestnuts, flour and olive oil, and dressed with pine nuts and rosemary. It is found everywhere in Tuscany but different areas take different names migliaccio (Florence), neccio (Lucca), patona (Lunigiana). Served with ricotta cheese and sweet wine to enhance the flavour. Eaten hot or cold. Usually made in autumn during chestnut season. Unforgettable.
Tuscan sweets and cakes in February:
If you love your sweets, the best time to visit Florence is February. Why? Because during Carnival there are three specialities, found only at this time of the year. They are among some of the best sweet treats in the region.
Of the Tuscan sweets, this is our personal favourite. A light, sweet cake covered in icing sugar, often bearing the symbol of the Giglio Fiorentino on the top. Perfect for an afternoon snack.
Deliciously sweet deep-fried pasta fritters.
Rice or semolina fritters, deep-fried, and very addictive.