Participants in the International Meeting 2023 will be able to taste the famous cantucci and vin santo, a typical dessert and drink at the end of the meal.
At the end of almost any meal in Tuscany, be it at home or a restaurant, you’ll be offered cantucci and vin santo.
Cantucci—what most Americans call ‘biscotto’—originates in Prato during the Renaissance. During the Roman Empire, Biscotti—from the Latin ‘bis’, meaning twice, and ‘coctum’, meaning baked—were created to sustain the Roman League soldiers during long marches into battle.
The dough is prepared with flour, sugar, eggs, and almonds.
From the cutting of the hot dough diagonally into slices, the name cantuccio derives from the Italian word “canto”, (corner).
For many Tuscans, vin santo is cantuccio’s best friend and the perfect end to a meal. However, some winemakers would rather see their sweet wine enjoyed without auxiliaries since it’s rather complex to make and deserves the attention of its own.
The history of vin santo is more contradictory and more romantic, according to another version from Siena, a Franciscan friar in 1398 used to treat plague patients with wine used to celebrate mass. The healing properties of wine or, more probably, the suggestion for them earned him the name of saint.
Vin santo is traditionally produced in Tuscany, and it is a dessert wine derived from Trebbiano or Malvasia grapes. It is the raisin wine par excellence, with an alcohol content between 14 and 16 degrees, and is obtained after dehydration (withering) of the grapes and fermentation in small barrels.
Once bottled, Vin Santo ages three to twelve years in small barrels, where it encounters the mother must of previous batches of the sweet stuff. Vin Santo is costly because it’s labor intensive.
Cantucci and vin santo form the most famous combination in the panorama of Tuscan confectionery products. A variety capable of immediately releasing an ancient and sweet flavor on the palate.
Cantucci is easy to make, and if you follow the recipe generously provided by Dolci Amari below, you can make cantucci just the way they do, with all-natural ingredients and with the love and manual work typical of a great artisan.
- 300 grams 00 flour
- 230 grams sugar
- 250 grams of raw almonds, chopped
- 30 grams butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 10 grams Honey
- 7 grams of sweet yeast
- a bit of natural vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 180°
- Mix the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, and add the melted butter and honey. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, vanilla, and yeast), and add them to the egg mixture, beating constantly. Then add the chopped raw almonds.
- On a baking tray, form the batter into long loaves about 4 or 5 cm wide. Brush some egg on top. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 20-22 minutes. Immediately upon removing from the oven, use a large, sharp knife to cut the loaves into oblique shapes (that look like cantucci). Let cool.