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Siena’s Confection Contribution to the World: Panforte

There are a million regional food specialties all over Italy, some of which make up what we think we know as Italian food in America. One item that – as far as I can tell – hasn’t made it across the pond is Siena‘s contribution to the world of sweets: Panforte.

Panforte is a dense cake filled with nuts and dried fruits and flavored with a mix of spices that (to me) makes it taste like a Christmas confection. It’s often covered in what looks like powdered sugar, but it’s not. I have no idea what it’s called, but it tastes and feels like you’re eating a thin layer of paper on the outside of the cake. It is, however, completely edible.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Panforte, but then again I’ve only tried it once. There are enough varieties – and each bakery is going to have its own secret recipe – that I’ll probably give it another shot on my next visit to Siena. In the meantime, here’s a video showing someone else indulging in this popular treat.