Each month here on the Cookies con Amore blog we dedicate one of our cookies to a region of Italy. It’s an opportunity for you to learn a bit about the Italian culture that is baked into each of our cookies—whether they are gluten-free, sugar-free or classico.
The Polentine is a naturally gluten-free cookie that our head chef Fernanda invented. It’s based on a gluten-free cornmeal (a.k.a. polenta) batter to give a jaunty crunch. A thin layer of raspberry jam gives the cookie a hint of tart sweetness.
You can eat the Polentine as is, but we like to spread bit of goat cheese on this cookie and top it with a dollop of spicy jam to create a sweet, salty and creamy appetizer. It’s a subtle and sophisticated cookie. It says, “Be present and look closely. You will find the thread of sweet love.”
Polenta comes from the north of Italy and is a specialty of Tuscany. One of the great foodie destinations, Tuscany has a simple cuisine that favors legumes, fresh vegetables and fruit. Olive oil, wine and pork are produced here. White truffles are harvested in October, which makes it a great time to visit.
Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany is also replete with cultural touchstones. Dante wrote his Divine Comedy here. You’ll find Pisa and its famous leaning tower in Tuscany. Art lovers must visit the Tuscan city of Florence to view works by Donatello, Michelangelo and Botticelli. The beautiful hill towns of Siena and San Gimignano are other Tuscan tourist favorites.
Timing your visit with a local festival, will give you a flavor of the local character and cuisine. Take your pick among these two Tuscan Polenta feasts that will take you off the beaten tourist track.
Head to La Maremma in October for their polenta festival: Sagra della Polenta. This “wild region” in the Southern part of Tuscany is a popular weekend and holiday getaway on the sea for Italians from Florence, Siena and Rome. It boasts secluded beaches, small port towns, medieval castles and hiking. Read more about visiting La Maremma.
On the first Sunday of Lent, the small town of Vernio near Florence hosts the Festa della Polenta (Festival of Polenta) or “Pulendina.” This popular festival began in 1512 when the town suffered a famine while under Spanish rule. Members of a local noble family stepped in to feed hungry residents polenta. The Festa della Polenta celebrates this magnanimous deed that saved many from starvation. The event features a medieval pageant as well as a chance to sample many different types of polenta. Read more about the Festa della Polenta in Vernio.
Of course, you needn’t book a ticket to Italy to enjoy a taste of Tuscany. Simply order a box of our gluten-free Polentine cookies and we’ll deliver some Tuscan dolce to your door.