Panforte (strong bread) so called for its full spicy flavour, is an Italian Christmas cake, but not as we would know it. It is rich, sticky and packed with nuts and fruit, bound together with honey and flavoured with warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. Unlike a British Christmas cake, it is made without eggs and only a small amount of flour, which makes it sweet and dense, so a little goes a long way.
Panforte is one of the oldest recorded desserts in Italy. The origins of this sweetmeat can be traced back to the 13th Century where it was carried by Crusaders to sustain them through long sieges. Take a tip from the Crusaders, as an energy dense food it makes an ideal treat for taking on long winter walks. But you don’t need to exercise to enjoy the intense pleasure from a small slice of sweetness; cut into small pieces and eat at the end of a meal accompanied by a dessert wine, such as, vin santo or a full bodied coffee.
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