• I'll take ten Cantucci... you mean Biscotti di Prato...

    I had a dream. (Most other sentences that start this was are more profound, don't expect that here.) I was in Florence and I was sat, at a bar. The waiter comes over and asks "what can I get for you, sir?" And out popped, "Cantucci and vin santo please". 

    I have never, in public, asked for Cantucci or Vin Santo. Of course, if nonna has made some, trust me, you are fighting a losing battle if you think you are going to get any. But it had me thinking, as most food does, why are Cantucci called, Cantucci? 

    A bit of history 

    Cantucci or Cantuccini are historically known as "Biscotti di Prato". That is correct, nothing whatsoever as similar to Cantucci in spelling or pronunciation.

    The first ever documentation on the recipe dates back to the 18th century where basically, a recipe was created and then stuck in a safe somewhere in Prato (Florence). Then in the 19th century a pastry chef, Antonio Mattei, discovered the recipe and kept everything pretty much the same. In 1867 he took the cooked biscuits to a show in Paris where he won a special, culinary prize! 

    So, culinary plagiarism of sorts created the biscuits, but it doesn't explain how they got from being known as "Biscotti di Prato" (biscuits of Prato) to Cantucci. 

    It's all in the name of a shop!  

    This is a bit like calling your child after the place where they were conceived, or who the doctor was the brought them to the world. Yes, the name for Cantucci actually comes from the name of a shop that sold the twice baked (because that's what Biscotti means, Bis - twice, cotti - cooked) goods. It was il signore Mattei himself who sold them under the pseudonym, Biscotti di Cantucci; a different type of biscuit all together, but because their popularity was decreasing and the Biscotti di Prato were so popular, people just naturally assumed they were the same thing! 

    So there we have it, the next time you are buying these treats from the deli, supermarket or in Florence, just remember, you are being sold Biscotti di Prato, re-branded as Cantucci because, it's just easier to say I guess. 

    As for the Vin Santo, that's something to do with monks. 

    0 comments → I'll take ten Cantucci... you mean Biscotti di Prato...

    Post a Comment