Sunday, May 9, 2010

Prato and Biscotti

During our week in Tuscany we stayed with my childhood friend Erika and her lovely family outside Prato. We had wonderful weather and the setting was idillic.

My children sketching the Tuscan countryside.

We also visited Prato, Tuscany's second largest city. Below is the Cathedral.

We went to buy some fresh raw milk from an automatic distributor. These facilities are scattered around Italy, and it is great to be able to buy raw milk, which is still looked upon with suspicion in New Zealand.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini©

The gourmand pilgrim should head straight for the old Biscottificio Antonio Mattei in the city centre, the original creator of the Cantucci, or Biscotti di Prato (simply known as Biscotti in many countries outside Italy). Mattei makes biscotti but also many other traditional sweet treats, and the recipes are patented, and secret!!!! Still, there are many versions of the famous biscuits, and here is mine, from my book Sweet As...


150 g sugar
2 eggs
250 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 g unbleached almonds
1 tsp lemon or orange essence (optional)

Beat the sugar and eggs together, then add the remaining ingredients. Work the mixture with a wooden spoon. When the mixture thickens, use your hands to make one or two long rolls, about 7.5 cm wide x 3 cm high, and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for 20-30 minutes. Turn the oven off, then cut the roll or rolls into small biscuits with a bread knife and return them to the warm oven for a further 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 40 biscuits


  1. Welcome back! Sounds like you had a lovely trip :)

  2. Ah che colpo al cuore..i miei biscotti preferiti!Pensa che conosco una ragazza che lavora da Mattei!Buonissimi quei cantucci!

  3. che belle immagini dalla toscana, complimenti anche l'immagine del latte crudo

  4. How beautiful, Alessandra! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos of Tuscany. That view with the wisteria is straight out of my fantasy book of Italy. I have got to go there for a visit. And I am definitely going to try your biscotti recipe. Che bella!

  5. Wow Saretta, hai lo sconto? :-)

  6. More lovely pictures, Alessandra :-). You must have had a wonderful time. Selfishly, I'm glad you're back. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Marya

  7. I like so much the wisteria against the terracotta wall !
    And thank you for the architectural fix too !


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