Italian Christmas Desserts You Need to Try

As another year is ending, I would like to say a big ”Thank you!” to all my wonderful followers for reading my posts and sharing your thoughts about slow and green travel in Italy. I am also very grateful for the Green Holiday Italy growing following on Facebook and Twitter! To thank you all I have prepared a very special sweet post about Italian Christmas desserts (dolci Natalizi). I asked a few of my blogger friends from different regions to share a photo of their favourite traditional treats that are made for the end of year festivities. Have you ever tasted any of these? Buon Natale!

Viareggio, Tuscany

Serena Giovannoni of loves torta Villa Argentina that is only made in the  Pasticceria Puccinelli in Viareggio. The name refers to the belle epoque period in which Villa Argentina, a unique liberty villa next to the shop, was built. The cake’s main ingredients are dark chocolate, honey, almonds and orange candy. The cake melts in your mouth!italian dessertsLe Marche

“Cavallucci marchigiani are the best!”, says Giorgia Barchi, a member of the Social Media team of the Marche region. The delicious biscuits are filled with walnuts, almonds, grape syrup and cacao. The recipe has ancient origins and is passed in families from one generation to another. I have tasted cavallucci and they are alone absolutely worth a trip to wonderful Le Marche.  italian foodCalabria

I bet you haven’t tasted these ones! Giurgiulina made with sesame seeds and honey and crustuli with grape must. Stefania Emmanuele, who writes for Green Holiday Italy sometimes and runs beautiful B&B Il Comignolo in Civita, Calabria, says these two ancient traditional Arbëreshë Christmas desserts most likely have Arabic roots.italian christmas desertsitalian foodCampania and Sardinia

Marianna Norillo of travel blog Ti Racconto Un Viaggio is originally from Campania but lives with her husband in Sardinia now. She has favourite Christmas treats from both regions. “There is no Christmas without zeppole!”, she says. In Campania, these Italian doughnuts are traditionally made with flour and mashed potatoes in different shapes and size. “I just love them because they are incredibly yummy and taste like home”. Papassini soft biscuits are her Sardinian favourite. Loads of raisins, walnuts, almonds and Christmas cheer make them irresistible.


papassini sardinia


How can I resist such a sweet feast? Here is my contribution! I live in Abruzzo where coming up to Christmas local bakeries fill up with season’s specialties. My favourites are caggionetti fried sweet damplings (see the featured photo) stuffed with a delicious mix of chickpeas, bitter cacao, honey, cooked wine, walnuts, almonds, orange peel and cinnamon. You can find a traditional recipe here.



12 Responses
  • Alma Biondi
    December 20, 2016

    Cavallucci would be one of my favourite baked goodies, although, I have never seen them that shape. The ones I buy from the pasticceria near us look like large damplings. They are yummy!

  • i’ve never tasted any of them! so much to catch up with

    • Italy With Gusto
      December 20, 2016

      I am glad I helped you to discover new tasty Italian things, Silvia!

  • Lisa Memic
    December 21, 2016

    Torta Villa Argentina looks scrumptious! Thank you for the delicious post!

  • David
    December 21, 2016

    This is a really fun post, Anna – thanks fro adding links for the recipes! The cavallucci and the giurgiuline look particularly interesting! Buona feste!

    • Italy With Gusto
      December 21, 2016

      You are most welcome, David! Caggionetti are my favourite, devoured many of them at out pranzo di Natale. Buon Natale!

  • Evelyn L.
    December 24, 2016

    I have tried zeppole in Sorrento. Not sure if they had mashed potatoes in them but they were very tasty. Happy Christmas!

    • Italy With Gusto
      December 24, 2016

      Buon Natale to you, Evelyn!

    • Marianna Norillo
      December 24, 2016

      Hi Evelyn! Thanks for your comment. Actually, they can be made with or without potatoes depending on liking and tradition. Always good anyway. Buon Natale from Italy! 🙂

  • Martijn
    December 24, 2016

    Did not know any of these, Italian culinary traditions are still a uncharted territory for me!

    • Italy With Gusto
      December 26, 2016

      There are so many regional specialties in Italy that one needs a lifetime to taste them all! Thank you for stopping by, Martijn!

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