- By AbruzzoCibus
- On Dec 07, 2018
A Chocolate Christmas Dream
From Scanno comes the the delicious mostaccioli! In Autumn, during harvest time; a typical cake from Abruzzo, the “mostacciolo” biscuit made from cooked grape must, this recipe has been handed down from ancient Rome when it was a sweet focaccia. The word is very old and comes from the Latin “mustaceum”, which indicates a sweet focaccia and which featured the ingredients of cooked grape leaves. No wonder the extraordinary tastes of mostacciuoli spread throughout the national territory: they take us directly to the origins of our history. By tradition, the mostacciuolo was offered to guests upon their departure, a last sign of personal attention that as they took leave.
The first description of “mustacei” is given to Cato in “De Agriculture”, with its dry and essential style: “intridi a flour bushel with must, add anise, cumin, two pounds of fat, a cheese pound and bark bay, when you’ve kneaded and given the right shape, cook over bay leaves.” They also cite Juvenal and Cicero, who even uses them in the famous saying: “laureolam in mustaceo quaerere” or “get the glory cheap”. A wedding cake of antiquity was called “mustaceus” and cooked with flour, must and plentiful addition of cinnamon.
Over the centuries, the preparation of these cakes has been enhanced with numerous ingredients, always varied and several treaties they give descriptions so complicated as to make us regret the simplicity of Roman recipe.
The Corrado (XVIII sec.), lists three different preparations, the nineteenth-century cookbooks will offer several versions.
Today, practically every Italian region has developed its own recipe mostaccioli, those closest to the ancient tradition are the people of Abruzzo, made of flour, honey and well-cooked grape must. In the past they were eaten for the Christmas holidays and were particularly requested to celebrate the new year; today they are eaten throughout the year.