Christmas Around Italy travels to Puglia today. I'm welcoming my good friend from Lecce, Ylenia, of YL Tours Congressi. I had the pleasure of meeting her this March and met up with her again this fall on my culinary journeys (and more) in Puglia. Her company provides tours in Puglia for the food lover, along with educational, cultural, yoga, and biking tours in her native region, Puglia. Today she's sharing six Christmas sweets you'll find on the table in Salento during the holidays and some beautiful photos of Lecce dressed up for Christmas. Enjoy!
Purceddhruzzi are one of the traditional desserts of Salento. They are small balls of sweet dough fried and crispy. They are then tossed in honey and garnished with pine nuts or almonds or tang colored. (Similar to struffoli in Naples)
Carteddhrate, another variation on fried dough. This a yeast dough is made by mixing flour, the liqueur Strega, orange juice, oil flavored with orange peel. You work the dough for a long time so that it is elastic. It's then rolled out into a thin sheet and cut into strips with a special pastry wheel. Strips obtained with different shapes can be created: twisting each strip can be in on itself, giving the shape of a rose, or cut pieces of 2 × 8 cm and huddle in the middle forming the butterfly. The fried carteddhrate go into a saucepan of warmed honey & water and soak up the honey. At the end of the preparation, they are decorated with pine nuts, cinnamon and sprinkle with colored candies.
Scagliozzi (also known as mostaccioli) biscuits are slightly crunchy outside but soft inside. They are typical of the city of Nardo, diamond-shaped with toasted almonds and various spices including cinnamon. They can be covered with chocolate or white icing sugar.
Cupeta is another delicacy one should taste. It is a nougat with almonds, which comes in the form of long sticks made with caramelized sugar and toasted almonds. It is similar to almond brittle but thicker.
Chinuliddhre are in the form of little calzone, and filled with jam. he most widely used jams for the filling are pear, quince and Negroamaro grape.
Pittule, little doughnuts from Salento, are very famous and sought after by tourists during the Christmas season. Often they are topped with a dusting of sugar or honey, and also eaten for breakfast.
Join me in Puglia in 2013! Gifting this trip to yourself or someone special would make for the perfect Christmas gift! For this food lover's culinary tour, we'll be cooking with our beautiful Italian mamme and professional chefs. We'll also be eating and exploring our way through the region. There are four tour dates available from which to choose! For tour details, check out this page: Culinary Tours in Puglia 2013!
***Early booking discount: Book and pay by check by January 31, 2013 and receive a $200 discount off the tour price.****
*All photos are courtesy of Ylenia and YL Tours Congressi