Panforte: Best Served in Slab Form

While we’re in Italy, Tizi accumulates treasures. Mainly chocolate. Over time we’ve put providers on our maps, in Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice. When we’re hanging out in San Marino and Pesaro, which is usually the case, her go-to place is Cioccolatteria & Confetteria Talmone. Now we have a new place, in nearby Fano.  But…, but…

We time our visits so we can be in Santarcangelo di Romagna for the feast of Saint Martin, aka festa di San Martino. It’s a riot, a city-wide food fair with providers from all over Italy come to display and sell their stuff (wine, cheese, pastries, salami, spices, etc).  Those November visits, if we haven’t been to Tuscany, she buys panforte from one of the Tuscan representatives. You could call panforte a fruitcake, but that would be to invite humor, trivialization, dismissal. Johnny Carson used to joke that there is only one fruitcake in all of America, that it was passed from house to house forever. Who would want to eat such a thing? Clearly, he had never tried panforte.

A few days ago we were finishing lunch, thinking about something sweet, when her eyes lit up.  She remembered. “Panforte!” Nuts, honey, sugar, candied fruits, spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. It’s a chewy flavor bomb. Panforte. Strong bread.  The one shown here is especially clove-y.   

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