Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ghiott – An Enduring Tuscan Tradition

Today’s tale from NYC’s Summer Fancy Food Show brings us to the Ghiott Company. Florentine confectioners with a rich history, their creations still accompany coffee, vin santo and conversation throughout Italy and beyond. You can find them in the evocative Chianti region of Tuscany, very near the famous Passignano Abbey. Located on a branch of the road known locally as the Strada Senese del Sambuco, it was the Florentines’ preferred way to Siena until at least 1200, after which better routes were found.

In 1953 in Florence, Italy, Enzo Salaorni was continuing the proud tradition of his ancestors – Tuscan confectioners. This gave him access to recipes dating back to the Renaissance. Salaorni took one of the cantuccini recipes, changed it a bit, and created Ghiottini. (Cantuccini are what we think of as biscotti, but in Italy, all cookies are biscotti. Cantuccini are the oblong, twice baked creations that are perfect for dunking). This almond-based delicacy became so popular that today it is the Company’s most famous product.

Ghiottini are BVQI certified, which is an international standard ensuring both the quantity and quality of ingredients that are both traceable and typical of the region without artificial coloring or preservatives. In this case, it means whole, skinned, Mediterranean almonds, ‘A’ class egg yokes and Millefiori honey.

Ghiott’s other beloved products include Brutti e Buoni (the ultimate Tuscan cookie, crunchy with a soft, sweet center), Amaretti (soft cookies made with stone- ground rice flour, sweet and bitter almonds, sugar and whipped egg whites), Panforte Morbido (soft, round cake filled with candied fruit and almonds) and Ricciarelli (soft, oval pastry with almond paste that are considered good luck. They also make a chocolate version).

Although the Company has modernized its production technology to keep up with international demand, the Salaorni family retains its focus on manual processing methods and simple, high quality ingredients.

To learn more, visit

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