Why is ciambellino so important?
During the festivities of any kind, desserts are the main protagonists of the tables: at Christmas the Panettone, at carnival the stracci and at Easter the Colomba. In Valdichiana, however, there is a dessert that cannot be missed and that wins over all others: the ciambellino.
As often happens, when a tradition is very important, relevant and of great interest to the people involved, it means that it brings with itself an ancient history, full of meaning and legends.
Let’s find out what the ciambellino is.
The origins of this cake are claimed by many towns in the Valdichiana but in Foiano della Chiana today we can boast of being named on https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciambellino as the creators of the first recipe!
The ciambellino is a traditional Tuscan poor cake made with eggs, flour, sugar, butter but also orange and lemon juice. In addition to these basic ingredients, each one adds or removes according to one’s beliefs but we are not here to reveal the secret of Foiano’s ciambellino, if you want to try it you must come here. It is made with a friable, circular shaped dough of about 20 cm in diameter and with an average thickness, the exterior remains coarse and rough to allow it to perform one of its most important functions: soaking!
In fact, although the ciambellino is produced to be consumed on Easter Sunday, both in the traditional breakfast with cold cuts, boiled egg and ciacciola that at the end of meals soaked in wine or vin santo, it certainly does not remain unused in the days before or after the holiday . For some, the kingdom of ciambellino is inside milk (or caffelatte) in the morning for breakfast … whenever possible!
The symbolism of the ciambellino is rather easy to guess: the round, irregular and jagged shape represents the crown of thorns of Jesus and the circle signifies the idea of resurrection and life without end; the ingredients instead like the egg with its spherical shape are inserted inside bringing with them all the pagan symbolism of fertility, of the new rebirth and of the natural cycle of life.
All this in a cake! Here’s what a tradition is worth.
Another aspect of the ciambellino is the social one. Yes, because even today many women in the days before Easter find themselves all together to create a giant dough, help themselves in the preparation of the ciambellini and then cook them. At the end of cooking, packets of 5 or 10 ciambellini are prepared and can be given as a present, as well as large baskets full of these sweets to keep at home at hand.