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Who comes to Lucca and doesn't eat buccellato...Local Traditions
Who comes to Lucca and doesn't eat buccellato...
‘Whoever comes to Lucca and doesn’t eat buccellato can’t say they have been there’: this is what a traditional saying in Lucca states. And in fact, if you happen to be in Lucca, you must taste this traditional cake. All you have to do is go into any pastry shop in the town center, but also the outskirts, to see it: it is long and straight shaped, the crust is brownish while inside you can see the raisins and, if you give it a good look, you can also see aniseed. It is basically a bread with additional ingredients as others from Tuscany’s traditions. The recipe is, in fact, very simple: water, flour, sugar, beer yeast, raisins and aniseed.
Its origins are very ancient and date back to Roman times: ‘buccelatum’ was in fact the bread eaten by soldiers. It was a ring-shaped loaf made up of many small breads placed side by side (called buccellae and meaning ‘bites’ or small portions) easy to separate and distribute. Similar desserts are also made in Friuli, Sicily, Veneto and Emilia. As for Lucca, the first evidence that testifies to its presence in the Tuscan city dates back to the fifteenth century: in a document of 1485 reference is made to a woman who killed her husband with a poisoned buccellato and the Republic of Lucca in 1578 imposed a tax on the sale of this cake.
How do you enjoy this treat? Surely the best thing is to buy it fresh on the day so as to appreciate all its fragrant aroma. It is perfect with a glass of vin santo (sweet wine). It can also be eaten at breakfast accompanied by coffee or cappuccino. The choice is yours. People from Lucca go a step further and when there is some left on the day after, they eat it toasted, again at breakfast, with a veil of butter. Those extremely fond of it even glaze it with egg and then fry it, or use it as a basic ingredient for semifreddo.
I bet you are by now mouthwatering! Book our day excursion to Pisa and Lucca from Florence so you too can enjoy this delicious cake!
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