Sweets and cakes
In Calabria, in the alimentary sector, the category of confectionery is the one which is influenced the most by the history of the region, and in particular by the domination of the Arabs, the Turks and by the orient in general. The cubbaita, for example, is a soft torrone (a kind of nougat) made with honey and sesame seeds which is commonly found in all the cake shops of the region, and which is identical to a traditional Turkish or Greek kind of sweet. Then there are the cannoli (pastry tubes filled with a sweet ricotta mix), tarts, little cakes made with almonds and a series of hazelnut torroni which are born from the traditions of the single towns. The torrone ice-cream is also extraordinary and unique: it is not really a true ice-cream, but a colourful collection of almond pastry and other ingredients.
The abundance of the production of figs throughout the whole of Calabria, over the centuries, has favoured the transformation of the fresh fruit into preserved products of the highest quality. Fig croquettes are especially famous, being stuffed with almonds and baked in the oven; as are the ciuffi, also similarly stuffed but coated with white or dark chocolate; finally, the ficarielli themselves, flavoursome and highly fragrant, packed together in the special packaging and covered with syrup and aromatic myrtle leaves. Other types of preparations include dried figs, arranged in a ring on small branches of myrtle, or, alternatively, arranged in a plait. Amongst the places which adhere the most to this tradition are Amantea anf Belmonte Calabro, in the province of Cosenza.
CUMPITTU (honey based nougat)
At Serra San Bruno, it has this name, in other areas of Calabria, it is known as cubbaita, of Arabic origin. It is a soft torrone with a honey base, coated with a thick layer of sesame seeds. The name probably derives from its covering of sesame seeds: restaurants in the Middle East, in fact, serve a spicy meatball which is covered with sesame seeds and then fried, which is called cubba.
C┘ZZUPA (a traditional kind of Easter cake)
Also known as cuzzuolu (in the Casentino area) or cudduraci (at Reggio), it is reminiscent of the tradition for the 'nzuddi of Seminara. It is an Easter cake of century old origin: it is made from a dough made with flour, eggs, lard and sugar. The shapes (heart, horse or doll) vary according to the whim of the moment and to the customs; the boiled egg in its shell placed in the centre is a symbol of the Resurrection.
'NZUDDI (a traditional cake made as a votive offering)
The traditional, devotional type of cakes are characteristic of the area of Seminara, which are typically made at Easter time. They are often made as votive offerings, portraying pictures of a man or of a woman, or of an arm or leg. They are focacce (flat breads) sweetened with honey and decorated with candied fruit and small coloured beads.
TORRONE FROM BAGNARA
This is a very well known, traditional speciality of Bagnara Calabra. It is prepared in traditionally shaped moulds – rectangular or round – of small dimensions so easier to eat, white, with chocolate or coated with icing. An interesting type is the źbacetto╗, a small sized torrone in the shape of a pyramid, coated in dark chocolate.
TORRONE ICE CREAM
It is cylindrical or stick-shaped and made up of the following ingredients: the candied peel of citron, orange and mandarin, almonds, bound together with melted sugar in various colours then the whole thing is covered with a coat of chocolate.
It is quite soft in texture and is easily cut into slices.