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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.

Sweet Easter bread from Montalcino

It is called schiacciata, which means flat, but it is anything but flat. In Montalcino and in Siena it is a typical cake for Easter to make at home.

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Ingredients for a Tuscan cake for Easter time

Easter time ingredients for "schiacciata di Pasqua"

Be careful though, in the eastern part of the Siena province the schiacciata di Pasqua is savory, enriched with cheese and prosciutto. It is used to interrupt the fasting period on the Sunday morning before going to high Mass.

I remember that for my first Easter Sunday at Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda I had prepared a wonderful menu for that day in the restaurant I had just opened. Half way through the lunch the Maitre Walter Marconi, from Montalcino like me, ran to tell me that the schiacciate, instead of being sweet, as we were used to were savoury, so we could not use them as a dessert. We remedies somehow but it was a real shock, because I was sure I knew the territory well but instead I learnt that the Val d’Orcia and the Valdichiana are two separate worlds, both fascinating, rich in stories, but to know one does not mean you know the other. Read more…

Recipe for Chicken Mars style: the red planet on your plate

Midsummernight dream. The dish created by Antonio Corsano, chef at Fattoria del Colle, for Calici di Stelle 2012. Foto and text by Bonella Ciacci

Chicken Mars Style - the dish from our chef in Fattoria del Colle

Chicken mars Style from the chef Antonio Corsano at Fattoria del Colle

The dinner organized for the wine event that takes place on the 10th of august was completely dedicated to the stars and included dishes which reproposed old traditions or simbolic ingredients of mid summer rites. The chicken Mars style was inspird by the red planet in its colours and tastes, a balance between sweet and spicy. It is however an unpublished recipe which exalts the Tuscan products such as saffron, Vin Santo and extra virgin olive oil. Once again tradition originates a new dish which is apt for gluttons who are are attentive towards the news food trends. Read more…

Christmas cake: the biscuits called cavallucci of Siena

These are Christmas cakes with an aniseed aroma and when they are just made they are deliciously soft and when they get hard loved by grandmas and hated by kids

Cavallucci_Christmas cake of Siena

Cavallucci_Christmas cake of Siena

All Sienese remember the cavallucci cakes being kept for months in glass jars until they became hard as rocks and where usually offered by grandmas for the afternoon snack. A nightmare which in the end kept this delicious cake from Christmas tables. The secret was to make few of them and eat them straight away. They are extraordinarily delicious, especially if matched with ricotta or whipped cream but please don’t keep them for months in glass jars!
Here below you find the recipe belonging to Patrizia Cenni patisseur at Fattoria del Colle, who every morning serves guests wonderful home baked cakes according to local tradition.

Read the recipe below!

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Ricciarelli: the recipe for the typical Christmas cakes of Siena

The home made freshly baked ricciarello is the nicest cake in the world. It has a taste of Tuscany, of Christmas, of local traditions and affection

Nothing at all to do with the commercial ones!

 Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Ricciarelli and Vin Santo_Fattoria del Colle

Traditional, easy and fragrant, it helps you rediscover the pleasure of almond paste. The ricciarello is the Sienese Christmas cake and since 2010 it is a product protected with the IGP certification. A traditional delicacy from as far back as man can remember. It seems that the oldest recipe is a document in a convent in Buonconvento  20 km from Fattoria del Colle. Its name has a legendary source and come s from the Crociato Ricciardetto della Gherardesca who it seems brought the recipe from theMiddle East. However the word ricciarello appears only in the 19th century so centuries and centuries after the crusades. Most surely the use of almond paste came about in the houses of the rich Sienese bankers from the southern part of theMediterranean, prior to the 15th century, because from that era one was served  “marzapani alla costuma senese” or “morzelletti” probably prepared in convents.

The most appropriate wine for this very Sienese delicacy is the Vin Santo, the most traditional dessert wine in Tuscany. Want some proof? Come to Fattoria del Colle and you will find both!

Read the recipe below!

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