5 Must-Try Desserts from Southern Italy

5 Must-Try Desserts from Southern Italy

May 31, 2024Federico Milone

Italy is a paradise for dessert lovers, and Southern Italy does not disappoint. Each region boasts a unique culinary heritage, the result of centuries of history, cultural influences, and local ingredients.

Embark on a delightful journey through 5 must-try desserts from Southern Italy:

Cannoli from Sicily

Cannoli are an undisputed symbol of Sicily. These crispy tube-shaped shells are filled with an irresistible sweetened ricotta cream, enriched with candied fruit and chocolate chips. Their origins can be traced back to the Arab period in Sicily, and the recipe, handed down through generations, jealously guards the secrets of a timeless taste.

Babà from Naples

The Neapolitan babà is an ode to indulgence. A leavened dome-shaped cake, soaked in a rum-based liqueur and covered with a sugary glaze. Its origins date back to the 18th century when King Stanislaus Leszczynski, Duke of Lorraine, visiting the Neapolitan court, asked local pastry chefs to create a dessert reminiscent of Kugelhopf, a beloved Polish pastry. Thus, the babà was born, conquering the palates of all with its soft texture and irresistible alcoholic flavor.

Pasticciotto from Lecce

From Salento comes the pasticciotto, a masterpiece of simplicity and taste. A golden-brown pastry shell encloses a creamy heart of custard with an intense lemon flavor. Its origin is uncertain, but it is thought to date back to the 16th century. The Pasticciotto is perfect for any time of day, from breakfast to dessert.

Susumelle from Calabria

Susumelle Calabresi are rustic biscuits with a rich and intense flavor. Prepared with shortcrust pastry, dried figs, walnuts, almonds, and honey, these sweets represent Calabrian peasant tradition. Their crescent shape is reminiscent of plums, from which they take their name. Perfect to enjoy with a glass of liqueur wine, susumelle are a true indulgence.

Maritozzo from Rome

The maritozzo romano is a springtime dessert linked to the feast of St. Joseph. A soft, orange-scented brioche, cut in half and filled with whipped cream and candied fruit. Its origin dates to the 13th century, and its name derives from the fact that in the past, fiancés used to give this sweet to their brides-to-be as a token of love.

Each region has its unique specialties, jealously guarded by local pastry chefs. I invite you to explore Southern Italy and let yourself be conquered by this explosion of flavors and traditions.

Tip: If you love desserts, don't miss the opportunity to attend a local festival or food festival in Southern Italy. You can fully immerse yourself in the local culture and taste many delicious specialties!

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