Biscotto (the Italian for "biscuit") derives from the medieval Latin biscotus, meaning "twice-baked". The double-baking process avoids moistness and allows long-lasting shelf life: that's why biscuits were born as a typically military kind of food. The right combination of nutrition and pleasure, biscuits are an extremely practical kind of food, and they're perfect for countless interpretations and variations: crisp biscuits (such as frollino), soft biscuits (the kind of savoiardo), spongy biscuits (like madeleines) or crispy and light ones (the classic “Marie”), but also crunchy (such as amaretto secco) and refined ones – like the so-called lingue di gatto - but we also have icing sugar-powdered (like canestrelli) or even chocolate-masked and lemon- or vanilla-flavoured biscuits.
Crackers - presented in practical, single-serving packagings, in a wide variety of typologies and flavours (with whole-wheat flour, cereals, olive oil, without salt on the top etc.) - are healthy and light products, since they're made with natural yeast and contain very few added fats – an ideal substitute for bread.
Rusks is perfect for breakfast or for a snack, especially with jams or chocolate creams. Its practicalness, in terms of both shelf life and hygiene, has made this product an ideal substitute of toasted bread, particularly from the nutritional point of view: rusk's lightness fits every consumer's needs. The Italian denomination for rusk (namely fette biscottate), identifies all those bakery products obtained through a specific production process, defined by the DPR 283/93.
Italian seasonal leavened cakes
Panettone, Pandoro and Colomba aren't only typically seasonal bakery products, but also true ambassadors of the “Made in Italy” tradition abroad – and they're increasingly appreciated everywhere around the world.
Panettone – A typical tradition from Milan, it is the Christmas favourite among sweet bakery products. Its double leavening through natural yeasts, the peculiar richness of its carefully selected ingredients and a technological process that fully respect the traditional one, all contribute in the product's softness and fragrance. Nowadays, besides the traditional product, special panettoni are available – coated in gianduia, icing or almonds, or filled with zabaglione, hazelnut or liquor creams.
Pandoro – Traditionally from Verona, it's a very simple product, made of few but highly selected ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, lots of eggs – hence the typically golden colour – and cocoa butter, which gives it its typical flavour.
Colomba – Easter colomba's shape resemble the one of a dove – hence the name. It is made of a soft paste enriched by candied orange peel, icing-coated and decorated with almonds and granulated sugar.
Other specialties – Beside the classic products created to celebrate the religious tradition's occasions, in recent years producers have launched a wide range of “seasonal cakes”. These products, mainly based on natural leavening paste, have soon become very popular among consumers.
“Out-of-meal” classics like merendine are small, single-portion cakes based on sponge cake, short pastry or puff pastry, whose production follows traditional Italian sweet bakery products' recipes.
Besides guaranteeing constant control on hygienic and technological features, nowadays' confectionery industry, working at close contact with many nutritionists, ensures the optimal nutritional composition for these products, in order to follow modern nutritional needs by preferring the simpler recipes and enriching them with natural ingredients such as fibers, yoghurt and fruit.
“Ready cakes”, sold in practical and hygienic, multi-dose packaging, provide the consumers with a rich range of recipes, from the highly-refined ones of classic confectionery, to the simpler and genuine “Grandma's” cakes. A choice of quality for breakfast or for a snack.
Frozen brioches and cakes
In terms of size and outlook, the most innovative segment in the sweet bakery products sector is that of the temperature-controlled preservation of brioches and cakes.
The main feature of these products, mainly intended for catering (restaurants and bars), is that their freshness is kept unaltered, thanks to their preservation at a constant -20 °C temperature.