The Sweets of an Italian Christmas, Part Two…The Unloved Ones

In my last post, I wrote about all of the most loved sweets we ate here in Naples over the Christmas holiday. Well, now it comes time to tell you all about the losers, the less enjoyed, the ones that are always left over. (And the ones that I like the best!)


What’s a better way to end a huge Christmas feast than with a delicious rococò! Not much, in my opinion. These rock-like cookies are a must-have on the Christmas table, but no one seems to like them much. To describe them simply, they are a very crunchy spice cookie. The secret to a good rococò lies equally in balancing the spices just right and with taking them out of the oven in time. Vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise make up the traditional mix called a pisto that spices up this Christmas cookie. Leave them for too long in the oven and they become a deadly weapon. Hence why most families just save themselves the trouble and buy them at a pastry store!

This year, I ended my Christmas meal with a nice chunk of rococò and a Nutella glass full of wine. The mix is phenomenal: you have the cookie a bit softened in the wine and the wine a bit spiced from the cookie. Magic!


The second Christmas dessert that didn’t have much success this year is the mostacciolo. Surprise, surprise, the mostacciolo is quite similar to the rococò! It is also a spice cookie, made with the same mix of spices only this time it is covered in CHOCOLATE! Need I get into how the bitter dark chocolate mingles with the warming spices? Or should I tell you about how the chocolate melts in your mouth and mixes with the crunchiness of the cookie? Well, I kinda just did.

Don’t worry, my unloved sweets. I will be here to eat you again next year, that is for sure.


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