Our last stop in the province of Siena was a San Gimignano - a gorgeous, walled medieval town from the 900s, and famous for its towers. 15 of the original 72 towers remain. We arrived after lunch and before dinner so had to make do with a bowl of sausages and tuscan beans, which was tasty, but a few other edibles caught my eye. Like this curing cinghiale, otherwise known as wild boar.
This selection of cinghiale prosciutto was almost as impressive as the curing meats in a butcher's shop from the town of Siena. Sorry for the blur - I had to take this incognito.
As amazing as all these lovely cured meats are, there lies a special place in my heart for all things sweet. And while I am a moth to a flame for sunshine and warm weather, I love fall because it means Halloween, Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas cookies, and harvest time for nuts! Celebrating the cooler weather spirit is a famous Christmas cookie from the region of Siena - ricciarelli.
This traditional Christmas cookie (can be enjoyed at anytime of the year, of course) is made up of almond paste, egg whites, sugar, and often orange zest. The dough is made and formed into balls or the more traditional diamond shape. These are left out for a couple days to form a crackly skin, sprinkled with 10x, and then baked. Ricciarelli are very similar to the more well-known amaretti.
Another sweet treat we discovered in Siena was panforte. It's basically a fruit cake loaded with nuts, candied fruits, and spices. There also exists a chocolate version!
A proper panforte is said to have 17 different ingredients, representing each of the 17 contrada that make up Siena. If you want to know a bit more about Siena's contradas check out my previous post.
Its as if the gods knew our trip to Tuscany had come to an end in San Gimignano, as the clouds rolled in and it began to sprinkle.
Good thing we managed to have the last of the summer tomatoes the day before...
Summer is officially over in my book. A real chill has come to London and this time I think its here to stay. I've even had to pull out my heating blanket for the bed this week. Plum jams on deck, just got my first batch of pears, and already writing my grocery list for Thanksgiving. Fall is definitely here.