Hidden treasures

The Pistoia’s comfits also won Zeffirelli’s heart!

Did you know that...
confetti pistoia

The Pistoia’s comfits also won Zeffirelli’s heart!

Pistoia comfits are a real delicacy even if, when you see them, they look a bit funny! They are white and have a very particular shape: the outer layer of sugar consists of something resembling small bumps. For this reason, they are also called ‘riccio’ but people from Pistoia affectionately call them ‘brignoccoluto’, that is lumpy. We must not be frightened by their shape and instead let them slowly melt in the mouth and slowly taste, after the sugar, their soft center. What's inside? The original recipe includes anise or coriander but more creative and equally tasty versions are around: chocolate, coffee, candied fruit and hazelnuts!

To trace their origins, we need to go back to 1300 when they were served in the sweet breakfast offered to nobles, bishops and magistrates on the day of San Jacopo, on July 25. The comfits were produced in a special rotating copper container called ‘bassina’. First, the center was filled, after which sugar melted in water with an alembic was poured drop by drop and then squeezed over. It is precisely this procedure through which the comfits get their typical ‘brignoccoli’.

Luckily, the Corsini workshop-shop is still around and making them just like it used to be: it is located in the central Piazza Mazzini and if you happen to pass by, you must definitely drop by! Not only can you buy the delicious comfits, you will also enter an enchanted world with the flavors of sugar and chocolate.

Do you know that Pistoia’s comfits were also featured in cinema? Requesting them in one of his films was nothing less than Zeffirelli, who used them for a scene in his 1976 ‘Casanova’. The director was in fact looking for curly comfits that, according to his research, were thrown during carnival celebrations. It was another director, Tuscan Mauro Bolognini, who told him about the ones from Pistoia which, on that occasion, were presented in colored guise: light blue, pink and mint green. By the way, since we are on the subject of cinema, how about taking part in our  Florence tour in cinema? You will discover many locations of Italian and international films of yesterday and today.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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