The Chiaroscuro of Baking in Sienese Almond Cookies
No foccaccia will ever compare to the one I had for breakfast every Friday at my Italian host mother's apartment, and her dinners boasted the creamiest pesto I've ever had. It was at her table that I embarked on my romance with roasted peppers.
My host mother seemed to have the best of everything. And when she offered me some ricciarelli cookies, I accepted and enjoyed them.
But weeks later, I left the Palazzo Pubblico on the sloping Piazza del Campo of Siena and entered a little shop in the town square of Siena, unaware that I'd be missing it for years to come.
In Dolce Siena, I tasted love in the form of a ricciarelli. The almond cookies, first baked in the 14th century, were nothing like the ones I'd had in Florence. There was a perfect harmony between their slight crunch and they way they melted in my mouth; between their sweet decadence and their airiness.
My two friends and I bought a box of more than 12 ricciarelli. They were gone in less than five minutes. Then we went back into Dolce Siena and bought more to take home, along with some other Sienese treats.