I spent the Sunday morning at DolcementePisa to discover some of the sweetest traditions of Pisa and its surroundings. Here 3 local food traditions you should not miss when in Pisa!
Torta co’ bischeri
This cake has a funny name. Bischeri in Florentine language are actually foolish people, but in this case bischeri indicate the peculiar shape of the border of the crust pastry.
The recipe dates back to 18th century when it was prepared by the women of Pontassecchio for the Fair of San Michele on April 28th. It’s made with candy fruits, chocolate, pinenuts and crust pastry. Women used to save oranges’, mandarins and Cedars’ skins, in the weeks before the fair, to candy them and prepare the most delicious cake.
Nowadays you can find it all over the year in the pastry shops of Pontasserchio area and surroundings. One of the most famous Torta de’ Bischeri is prepared by Michele at Fratelli Sbrana Pastry shop in Gello. Michele’s recipe comes from his grandma Piera, who used to prepare it when he was a child. The original recipe is secret but the quality of local ingredients are the basics to have such a delicious cake. For example?The pine nuts from San Rossore Park.
Another typical dessert of Pisa surroundings is the Panfiato. It’s kinda of panforte, even much softer and different.
The Panfiato is a fruitcake made of chocolate, spices like cinnamon and ginger, dried figs and almonds. It’s soft inside and sweet, consistency and flavor given by the figs and chocolate, while outside it’s crunchy thanks to almonds and nuts.
One of the oldest recipe is the one of Antica Forneria Giuntini in San Prospero that opened in 1904. Nowadays it’s Stefania to prepare her great-great grandma recipe.
Lancio del Panforte
Panforte is not a typical dessert of Pisa, but it was quite diffuse since ancient times. Since the end of the 19th century it was used as a disk to launch during Christmas celebrations in La Rotta and surroundings. Farmers used to meet all together with their families during Christmas time to play at lancio del panforte. The panforte was actually the prize for the winner, while they used to launch a disk made out of large rolled rope. From a distance of 5 meters each player should launch 5 panforte on a table. The distance from the broder is measured and converted in points. If panforte falls you get a penalty of 10 points.
Lancio del panforte was a traditional game much beloved because it was a great occasion to spend sometime all together as well as meet your future husband or wife. Today the no-profit association Amici del Lancio del Panforte brought back to life this old game. Every year a local tournament is organized in La Rotta during Christmas time and men and women of 8 towns challenge each other to win the much aspired panforte!