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Ossi di Morto can there be a better recipe for All Souls’ Day?

The Ossi di morto biscuits are delicious dry biscuits made with egg whites and almonds. These are from Montalcino where Brunello and gravediggers can be found


Ossi-di-morto biscuits

Ossi-di-morto biscuits

The nick name beccamorti (gravediggers) has been given to the Montalcino population in 1260 when they went to the Montaperti so slowly that when they got there the battle was over, and the Sienese, winning side, punished them, forcing them to bury all of the dead. And there were so many corpses that Dante said that their blood coloured the Arbia river red. An historic episode of which we cannot be proud which though later was cancelled through great demonstrations of courage in the centuries that followed when Montalcino defended its independence for so long that it remained the last free city inItaly(1559).

The Ossi di Morto biscuits (literally translated dead man’s bones) refer to the battle of Montaperti? Nobody knows.

Are these the typical biscuit for the religious autumn festivities? I’m quite sure it is not so, in this period of the year one finds on our table “pan coi santi”, a delicious sweet bun with nuts, raisins and black pepper.

On the other hand the Ossi di morto biscuits were in the glass containers in the Montalcino cupboards all year long. These used to be what was baked for last in the brick-ovens by the farmers after the bread, the tarts and cakes, together with the meringues made with egg whites and sugar.

So that’s what ossi di morto from Montalcino are, simple biscuits to be made at home that accompany very well Vin Santo from Fattoria del Colle.


Ingredients for 4 people:

Ossi-di-morto- egg whites addition

Ossi-di-morto- egg whites addition

100g of flour, 300g of sugar,200 gof almonds, 3 egg whites, 1 lemon, extra virgin olive oil

Preparation: parboil the almonds and peel them. Chop half of them roughly then add the flour, sugar, grated lemon rind and the beaten stiff egg whites.  Mix gently with a fork from the bottom to the top so as not to deflate the egg whites. In the end the mixture will be quite consistent to which you will five a cylindrical shape. Slice so as to form discs to put on a greased baking tray. Bake at180°Cfor 30 minutes. They will be ready when the surface is a nice amber colour.

Serve once cold and keep in tins so that they do not lose their crispness.

Cardoons in the Val d’Orcia style

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The most frequent recipe in Val d’Orcia is the winter one for cardoons, even though in Montalcinowe use the same recipe for celery which we eat

Leone Rosso Orcia DOC with "gobbi rifatti" recipe

Gobbi rifatti Tuscan recipe and Leone Rosso DOC Orcia

in August

Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Cardoons are among the tastiest and most refined vegetables that can be found. The term “gobbo” is used mainly in Tuscany while in Veneto it becomes “cardo” and in Nizza Monferrato “cardo-gobbo”. This is a wild artichoke, beautiful to see, in fact its leaves and flowers dominate the damasks , brocades and two pile velvets from the 17th and 18th century. Read more…

Baccalà alla fratina, friar’s cod, a recipe from Trequanda in Tuscany

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Cod is really apt for the lent period, even though once it was considered a poor man’s fish, while today it is a delicacy for the rich; this is a traditional Tuscan recipe

A recipe coming from catholic tradition - baccalà alla fratina

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

In the Tuscan countryside, together with anchovies, this was the only fish available and the prime dish on days of fast

The housewives had learnt to cook it with great sauces, even though in the dish one got only a small piece of cod, although with bread dipped in this very tasty sauce one was able to ease the hunger.
Nobody remembers the reason for this recipe’s strange name even though monks touring the countryside asking for charity were a frequent vision in farmhouses and around the villages, so we can think that maybe there were some dishes created especially to honour them. At Fattoria del Colle there is even an apartment called “monache” (nuns) which used to be used to welcome these religious people on their way, it is in a position that allowed the guests to go outside without having to pass through the kitchens and the pantry. It was not unusual in fact there to be monks who were imposters, who tried to get into pantries and cupboards to thieve food, and so it was necessary to take precautions. Read more…

Ciancifricola – many names for this Tuscan recipe with tomato

A delicious tomato and egg soup, in the Siena‘s countryside it is also called picchio pacchio. Here you find it in the Fattoria del Colle, farmhouse in Tuscany



Rewritten from the housewives by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

This is a main course for those who get home half an hour before dinner and still are able to put something delicious on the table. In a more refined meal the ciancifricola becomes finger food to be served in small bowls.

It definitely originates from a long time ago even though not quite Medieval. Surely though in the 19th century the ciancifricola used to be served halfway through the morning, so as to give the farmers some energy, during the heavy summer jobs. In the villages in the Sienese countryside it changes name and becomes pomodorata or picchio pacchio although with some minute variations, the recipe remains the same. Read more…

Peposo, in a recipe the story of the heart of Tuscany

This is one of the tastiest and easiest meat dishes in Tuscany, but it is also one with a beautiful story. This is the recipe belonging to the  “cocciari” in Petroio



Delicious advice from Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Petroio (Siena), a special little hamlet  10 km from Fattoria del Colle, and is well known for its production of terracotta objects from Renaissance times. Vases, jars. flower boxes, ….artistic objects but also construction materials like roof and flooring tiles just like Impruneta nearFirenzewhich, though, is more famous.

Two territories which make the most of the great amount of clay in their underground to create red terracotta objects in Impruneta and amber coloured in Petroio. Two territories who have the Peposo recipe in common,  this is a very tasty stew that used to be cooked in the terracotta furnaces and



gave the furnace masters the energy for their very tiring job. It seems that the invention of the Peposo dish is somehow bound to the construction of the dome of the Duomo di Firenze and to the enormous physical effort required by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi of the furnaces in  Impruneta. History or legend, it doesn’t matter Peposo is now bound to the most beautiful dome ever built in the world and to the red bricks used to build it.

Superfluous to say the red wine is the base of the preparation, and the serving at the table. I advise Cenerentola DOC Orcia made at Fattoria del Colle with autochthonous grapes –Sangiovese and Foglia Tonda-.

Ingredients for 4 people:

800 gof beef muscle, 8 garlic cloves, a large glass of wine, a spoon of tomato conserve, salt and pepper, some sage and bay leaves.




Cut the meat as if for a stew. Put it in a casserole dish with the whole cloves, the conserve diluted with hot water, a spoon full of black pepper grains, a whole glass of wine and some salt and pepper. Add water until the meat is covered then cover the dish and put in the oven. Cook the Peposo for  2-3 hours on a moderate setting if necessary add more arm water. At the end the meat must be very tender.

Serve very hot on slices of toasted bread. It is possible to prepare the Peposo in a pan on the stove but however it is necessary to cook it for a very long time.

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