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  • Writer's pictureTeacher Stefano ENG

I dolci di Natale Italiani (eng) 🎄

Do you know any Italian Christmas desserts? Surely you've already heard of panettone and pandoro, but in today's article I'm going to tell you about many other regional Italian desserts.

Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!

Today I'm going to talk to you about traditional Christmas desserts, because in Italy we don’t really have a traditional savory dish that is eaten at Christmas, there are several depending on the region!

Let's start right away with a typical dessert from my region, Puglia!


These are cartellate, a very good Christmas dessert from Puglia. They are rose-shaped and have very ancient origins and their recipe is handed down from family to family. They are made of a particular dough and then fried.

Traditionally they are served with vin cotto, a condiment obtained by cooking the must of the precious Apulian grapes.

Vin cotto has a very peculiar taste and for this reason not everyone likes it. In fact, cartellate can also be served with honey.


Here are struffoli, a very famous Christmas dessert from Campania. Struffoli are soft fried balls, caramelized with honey and topped with confetti.

They are a real treat! They are usually placed on a plate and given the shape of your choice: pyramid, doughnut, Christmas tree, star... and finally decorated with candied fruit of your choice!


Panforte is a Christmas dessert typical of Tuscany. Its origin is very old, in fact the first evidence dates back to the year one thousand.

Originally it was a kind of focaccia made with honey and took the name of pan mielato. Afterwards, fruit was added, but because of the hot weather it fermented; for this reason the dessert took on a more sour and sweet taste and the name was changed to panforte (Forte = strong). In order to avoid the fermentation of fresh fruit the ingredients changed and it began to be prepared only in the coldest days, so it became a typical Christmas dessert.


Ricciarelli are soft marzipan cookies typical of Tuscany. This recipe is inspired by the traditional Ricciarelli of Siena, made with almonds, sugar and egg whites. After 12 hours of rest and after adding and mixing all the ingredients, the dough is transformed into cookies with the typical "grain of rice" shape.

Finally they are sprinkled with powdered sugar and are usually eaten with a fortified wine, such as vin santo. They are really delicious!


Torrone is a typical Christmas dessert and it is eaten all over Italy. It has different origins, there is torrone from Cremona, a soft torrone or also the typical torrone from Campania, which can be harder or softer like the one from Cremona.

It is usually made of egg whites, honey, sugar and almonds, but there are many variations!


Panettone, together with Pandoro, is one of the most famous typical Italian desserts. There are many stories about the origin of this delicious dessert, but the most famous one tells that panettone was created at the court of Ludovico il Moro, lord of Milan in the 15th century.

It was Christmas Eve when, during dinner, the cook of the family burnt a cake. In order to make up for this situation Toni, a servant who worked in the kitchen, decided to use a loaf of yeast he had kept aside for Christmas. He worked it adding flour, eggs, raisins, candied fruit and sugar, obtaining a particularly leavened and soft dough. This cake was very appreciated and so it was called "pan di Toni", with time the name became "panettone". What is certain is that panettone is a typical Christmas dessert of Lombard origin, appreciated all over Italy.


Pandoro is the undisputed symbol of Christmas together with panettone. As for its "rival" also for this delight there is no certain evidence about its origins.

According to many people the first traces of pandoro date back to 1500 in the period of Venetian Republic. The only certainty is that pandoro was born in Verona.

It was on October 14, 1884 when the pastry chef Domenico Melegatti obtained the patent for a Christmas dessert. In order to make his recipe, pastry chef Melegatti took inspiration from the traditional desserts of Verona.

According to a legend, the pastry chef, after having taken the dessert out of the oven, was so fascinated by its golden color that he decided to call it "Pan d'oro" (Golden bread), hence the term "Pandoro" which we all know very well today.

You know that every year at Christmas in the homes of many Italians there are always those who prefer the Pandoro and those who prefer the Panettone, in fact there are real discussions!

And have you ever tasted one of these typical Italian sweets? What are the typical desserts of your country instead?

I hope you enjoyed this article on Italian Christmas desserts! If you have any questions you can contact me in the contact section of my site.

Un abbraccio,

Teacher Stefano

Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!


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