Recently, I have been coming across many different articles about Italian sweets, Italian coffee styles, Italian meals, and Italian life. So I, hungry at almost all times of the day, naturally started to look up some recipes of Italian snacks I have tried when I lived in Italy and Italian snacks I still want to try. I have compiled a list of the top 10 MUST-TRY savory and sweet Italian snacks. These are listed in random order, but are the snacks that speak a lot about Italian culture and are varied enough to fulfill a big scale of cravings.
- These are like New Orleans beignets, simple, round shaped fritters that are usually dusted with powdered sugar, but can be filled and topped with anything that is imaginable- both savory and sweet! Chocolate, custard, creme, fruits, jams, cinnamon-sugar, savory spices, herbs, cheeses, etc. The options are as limited as your imagination!
- Ring shaped cakey-like cookies that are glazed with a lemon royal icing over the top and topped with sprinkles, if for a special occasion. There is also a more popular version of these that are flavored with fennel seeds and glazed with a light sugar syrup. Craving something simple, a tad sweet, with a cakey consistency? These can easily fulfill your desires, especially if paired with Italian coffee. Ciambelle and coffee are BFFS! Just think of donuts and coffee!
- Don't knock it 'till you try it!!! The flower of the zucchini squash are probably my new favorite part of the vegetable. Italian grandmas (nonnas) do it best: they dip them in a frying batter, smash the flower into the batter, and deep fry them!! Seriously one of the best treats. The blossoms are a little difficult to find, however, so there may need to be some research to do prior to savoring these babies.
- The Nutella filled ones are my all time favorite! There is just something about them, that makes them different when made in Italy. When I lived In Florence, I heard of places called "secret bakeries" which could only be found by the scent of freshly baked croissants (cornetti), and were only opened for "business" late at the night. [There are no such things as official secret bakeries in Florence. These are just the warehouse kitchens where the bakery goods are made previous to being sold early in the morning. They started to gain popularity when teens would stay out all night and when they were on their way home and starving, started smelling these places and knocking on the doors to buy some cornetti, which is how the name secret bakery came about.]
- These aren't much of snacks, but more something you can make a snack out of and pair with meals as well. Burratas are very, very fresh and soft mozzarella cheese balls that have a stable outside, and when perforated, ooze out a gooey spreadable cheese... I have eaten this on top of risotto, in pasta, salads, or just with bread. Simply delectable!
- Also savored as either sweet or salty cookies/crackers, these are very simple crunchy loops that can be flavored with fennel seeds, cheese, or sugar icing (for Easter and special occasions). These were my favorite to eat in italy with an afternoon coffee.
- Almost everyone knows these, as they are very popular and common in many other countries besides Italy. But did you know these literally translate to "twice cooked?" These are usually made out of a big flat loaf cookie/cake, that once it is baked, it is still soft inside, and then cut into pieces and baked again to achieve the crunchy consistency. They are also made with semolina flour, a coarser type of flour, which allows the cookie to absorb and retain liquids better. The classic biscotto is simple, made with nuts, usually almonds or pistachios. Best served with coffee, and even better dipped in it...
- Pretty much a candy made out of honey, sugar, egg whites, and almonds, they are chewy, sweet, and sometimes crunchy.
- Made by incorporating a sweet meringue with chopped nuts like hazelnuts or almonds. The name translates to "ugly but good," which, in my opinion are usually the best-tasting parts of the baked batch in whatever recipe may be. Just think of when you make batches of cookies, and end up leaving the ugly ones behind because you don't want to present those... where do they usually end up? Mmm...
- Usually paired with sweet dessert wines like Marsala, Moscoto, or Vin Santo. They don't contain eggs or butter which makes them a lighter pairing for a dessert drink after a big Italian meal. they contain anise seeds, sugar, and lemon... but there's no surprise in an Italian sweet with anise seeds and lemon in them! Italy is one of the biggest growers of lemons, and Italians LOVE enhancing flavor with anise seeds.
Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!