This is a preview of the content in our Italian Food Decoder app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play

mostaccioli dolci

traditional Christmas biscuits of the south

The name of these biscuits is derived from the mosto cotto (must) traditionally used to sweeten them, although today most bakers use honey. They are popular in the south, although each region has a very distinct recipe.

For Christmas in Calabria (where they are also known as mastazzola, mustazzoli or nzudde) they make them in beautiful shapes and decorate them with colourful bits of tin foil. According to legend they were introduced by the Arabs, and became a speciality of the Dominicans in Soriano Calabro. Even so, the story goes that St Francis of Assisi asked for them on his death bed.

Another Calabrian version resembles resembles a soft loaf filled with almonds, honey, and sometimes chocolate, baked and then sliced, similar to marzallette.

Other versions include the Neapolitan mostaccioli, made with chopped almonds, honey, oranges, pisto and cocoa, then dipped in chocolate. On Puglia's Salentine peninusla, they make another version, mustazzoli.





Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Dolciaria Alessandria, Soriano Calabro