Italian Christmas dessert: a list of 7 delicious delights

christmas dessertEnding up in Italy during Christmas period? Well within your historical, cultural, tourist itinerary around the country you should leave enough space for another magical trip, delicious and super tasty: the culinary one.

To be honest, there is always a great excuse to stop somewhere and eat something; during winter time, when outside there is kind of cold weather, it is even nicer to make yourself something special, to buy yourself some delights.

If you are planning to go and visit Italy during Christmas time, you will have the unique chance to try out different types of cakes, desserts and more: so here I am in order to show some of them, to explore together this paradise.

Getting already hungry? You should. Time to move on and look at the upcoming magical sweet list with 7Italian specialties you will find up here and there in the whole country.

7 Christmas typical delights – Italy

*1 Pangiallo Romano

Let us start such a delicious trip with one of the most famous Christmas cakes from Italy. Born during the Roman Empire and very similar to the Tuscan “Panforte”, the so-called “yellow bread” is used to be prepared during the winter solstice as a good omen to facilitate the return of the long days of sunshine: this is why its shape recalls the sun. Full of nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts), dried fruits (figs, raisins), honey and dark chocolate, personally it is one of my favourites, since it is a combination of ingredients that I really like. Amazing. Do not leave Rome before trying the magical taste of “Pangiallo”!

*2 Ricciarelli

ricciarelliDescribing the taste of these amazing biscuits in one word? Dreamy. They are like cherries. When you start and eat the first one, then it is kind of impossible to stop yourself. You just cannot do it. This is what I think of the famous, precious almond cookies from Siena, named “Ricciarelli”. Especially if you love almonds and their flavors, then you may have just found out your best friend during these holidays. The bitterness of the almonds mixed with the icing sugar at the top will make you crazy for them.

Strongly recommended. And please, when you are going to try them out, before you start and dream, by eating them, remember to send me at least one of them. Grazie!

*3 Panettone


If you are spending time in the north of Italy, then you cannot leave this area before tasting the magic “Panettone” born in the region of Milan, called Lombardy. This yeasted egg-rich cake contains raisins and candied fruit (orange and citrus flavor) and it is topped with pearl sugar. Despite the presence of butter and sugar, this cake is not so sweet: so if sweets are not your thing and you prefer salty foods, you have no excuses: “Panettone” is waiting for you to try.

*4 Pandoro

Similar to “Panettone”, now it is the turn of another Italian delight born in the area of Verona, Veneto region, located in the northern-east side of Italy. Do you know its meaning? “Pandoro” means “Bread of Gold”, because of its golden colour due to the fresh eggs; it is baked in the shape of an eight-pointed star and basically it is what I use to eat for breakfast when I have the chance of spending Christmas time in Italy. Before serving it, the “Pandoro” is usually dusted with icing sugar in order to make it even more sweet. Probably kids do prefer it instead of “Panettone” just because it is plan, it has more butter and there are no candied fruits added. I also prefer it, you know I am a kid. And sweets lover. Of course.

*5 Struffoli

struffoliTime to move a bit, to take the train and go to the Southern part of Italy, in the magical city of Naples. Here is the homeland of “Struffoli”, small dough balls that are assembled to make them look like a painting. First the balls are deep fried until crisp or brown, then rolled in honey, before being assembled one on top of the other, like a pyramid, in a plate. It is not just a cake, it is a piece of art. They are usually topped with sugary decorations, like candied fruits and sugar. If you are spending some days in Naples, you will be able to find them in each corner. Literally.

*6 Torrone

torroneYou may have already heard about it, since this sweet nougat is pretty well-known and it is typically eaten as a Christmas tradition in the whole country. With its rectangular shape, the nougat candy is prepared with almonds, egg whites, cane sugar and honey. Anyway, nowadays you can find many varieties of it, such as the ones refilled with hazelnuts or pistachios. Wherever you are in Italy, just stop for a while and enjoy it in one of its delicious variants.

*7 Mostaccioli

I do love these chocolate cookies. Actually it is very hard to find someone who does not. Since they are made with chocolate and a bit of spice, the taste is just perfect, because it combines the sweet side with the spicy one. You can find many versions of them, some of them are filled in with jam, others are just surrounded by a delicious chocolate glaze. I probably like each version of them: I mean I am still trying out new recipes but the love for them is always the same. Guaranteed.


So, what do you think? I am already on the way to the bakery for buying some of these delights. The more I was writing down about these sweets, the more I got hungry.

Then, especially if you are heading Italy during this period, there are no ways to skip this food.

Moreover many of these recipes provide dried fruits and honey, so after all you will not even feel too much guilty of eating many sweets. Many ingredients amidst them are healthy.

Yeah, I know. This sounds just like such a cool excuse.

Buon Natale! (Merry Christmas)

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