From the Latin biscoctus for 'twice cooked', biscotto originally referred to dry and crunchy biscuits meant to accompany dessert wines, such as the Tuscan biscotti di Prato, or cantuccini, made with almonds. Other regions have their own varieties, such as the pepatelli of Abruzzo, with almonds and pepper.
Lately, though, biscotti has also come to mean every sort of sweet biscuit or cookie. A biscotto, on the other hand, can also mean a cake, like a buccellato or a sweet bread.
biscotti di Ceglie Messapica (pesquett): made with Messapica cherry jam, ground almonds, lemon zest and citrus liqueur in Puglia are in the Slow Food Presidium.
biscotti Giolitti: invented in Dronero (Piedmont) in the mid 19th century by baker Giuseppe Galletti, made with almonds, butter, rum, Marsala and pepper baked into round crunchy biscuits. Italy's first prime minister Cavour took them to Rome, and renamed them after his friend, Giovanni Giolitti, the future prime minister. PAT
biscotti della duchessa: light chocolate biscuits named after the Duchess of Pistoia, who used them as an excuse to visit her lover in Piedmont. PAT
biscotti ringo: pinwheel cookies
biscotti savoiardi: lady fingers
biscottini di Novara: thin light elongated biscuits first made by nuns in Novara's convents and then made since 1852 by the Camporelli bakery in Novara, Piedmont. PAT
biscotto salute: 'the healthy biscuit' is a dry, light crunchy toast toast made in Piedmont, often eaten for breakfast. It's also known as biscotti del Lagaccio made since the 16th century in Genoa for seafarers, and named after the district where they were first baked.
biscotto di Sant'Anselmo ring shaped sweet bread flavoured with lemon zest, anise seed and liqueurs, made in Bomarzo (Lazio) in honour of the town's patron saint in April (PAT)
biscotto di Sant'Antonio a braided anise-flavoured sweet bread made in Tuscia (Lazio) in honour of St Anthony in January (PAT)
Image by micala