Discover the Christmas Cake of Abruzzo – Parrozzo

Italy’s cuisine never ceases to amaze me!  Christmas, as you will know and if you celebrate it, is coming.  This means that out come all the Christmas favorites, and in Italy just about every single one of Italy’s twenty regions has its favorites.

Take, for example, Abruzzo which has its very own Christmas cake.  The name of this chocolate covered cake is Parrozzo.

I was a little suprised to learn that Parrozzo is not one of those cakes which has been cooked since the dawn of time.  No.  Instead, Parrozzo was created less than 100 years ago in 1920 by one Luigi D’Amico, the owner of a cake shop in Pescara.

Parrozzo, A Christmas Cake from Abruzzo, Italy

Parrozzo, A Christmas Cake from Abruzzo, Italy

This Christmas cake also has a song named after it: La Canzone del Parrozzo.  The song was written by appreciative poet/politician - Gabriele D’Annunzio.

What’s Parrozzo made out of?  A good question.  The main ingredients are:

  • semolina or, alternatively, with cornmeal or flour,
  • sugar,
  • ground almonds,
  • essence of bitter almond,
  • orange or lemon peel.

The cone shaped cake is then covered in dark chocolate.  Although generally made around Christmas, Parrozzo is also consumed at other times of the year.

What does Parrozzo taste like?  I really have no idea.  I’m in Milan, and the chances of finding Parrozzo cake in Milan, despite Abruzzo being in the very same nation, are rather slim.  Maybe there’s a bakery in Milan which cooks Parrozzo around Christmas time, but I doubt it.  I’ll keep my eye open for some Parrozzo cakes though.

Here in Lombardy, Christmas means panetone and pan d’oro type Christmas cakes, as well as variations on the pan d’oro themes, but that’s another story.

Maybe Italy Chronicles Abruzzo based contributor Anna has tried Parozzo?

Parozzo photo by RaBoe/Wikipedia

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Comments

  1. says

    Have tried parozzo many times, have not liked it that many. Very dry. The odd homemade ones are good. But then again, I have a lot of experience eating cake, may have become quite picky and am from Scotland, where if a cake’s not moist it’s not cake.

  2. says

    Alex, I have devoured a few parozzo cakes and can say that are delicious!!! My boyfriend, a pescarese, has promised to make the perfect parozzo this Christmas for me, so I am dreaming of it now. Sometimes parozzo is made with walnuts, which I actually prefer.

  3. Dario says

    The ‘industrial’ Parrozzo you can find in Abruzzo shops is actually quite dry, but the home made one is actually very different and not very dry.
    The name Parrozzo is actually copyrighted by Luigi D’Amico and cannot be used by other companies, so each one of them producing it has invented their own name: Pan Dell’Orso, Presentosa, etc-

  4. Klee says

    I’ve tried Parozzo in Italy, and even made one for a christmas dinner. While almonds and chocolate are an awesone combination, the cake itself is a little dry. Good for dipping in coffee or liquer, but not by itself. Panpepato, on the other hand, is to die for. Leave it to the italians to make fruitcake that is actually good: dried (not candied!) fruit soaked in brandy, with nuts, just barely bound together by a rich chocolate batter and covered in chocolate. A carolie bomb, but to die for. Panettone also great, for breakfast, and not as damaging to the diet.

Comments welcome!