gran_tipici

The mostaccioli calabresi

Soriano Calabro is a little town of Calabria, a region of South Italy. This little town is renowned for its hard biscuits known as Mostaccioli,also called mastazzola”, “mustazzoli” o “’nzudde“,of various shapes, decorated with coloured tin foil. The most common traditional shapes are fifty,known as “a parma“, “u panaru“, “a grasta“, “u cori“,”u pisci spada“,”a sirena“; that is to say: the palm,the basket,the plant, the heart, the swordfish and the siren. Reading Luigi Accattatis’ in Calabrian Dialect Vocabulary(1977); he writes: “Mustazzuòlo or mostacciolo” is a sweet brought by Arabs and it’s made with wheat flour melt into honey or “done must”; then, seasoned with spices and baked. People eat this kind of titbit during wedding ceremonies especially”. Giovan Battista Marzano’s definition-in his Etymologic Dictionary(1928) is more detailed:”mostaccioli are homemade sweets with flour,honey,done must,seasoned with spices and rhombus-,puppet-,basket- shaped,ecc. The name comes from the Latin word mustaceus or mustaceum, from mustacea, an ancient flat cake for wedding ceremonies, made by a mixture of flour, done must, fat seasoning,cacio cheese,aniseed and cooked on bay leaves”. Anyway, mostaccioli origin is still uncertain-maybe, Arabian, a legend tells about a mysterious monk, suddenly appeared and then soon vanished,who generously offered mostaccioli to Soriano poor rural people.
S.Domenico,whose sanctuary was a pilgrimage and worship destination, watched over these animated sweets and later,he became the patron saint of mastazzolari and the craftsman is called “u monacu”(the monk).
According to history, the introduction of mostaccioli is due to Dominicans monks of S.Domenico monastery(1510). They tought,upheld and improved among craftsmen the local confectionery art,which was flourishing between ‘600 and ‘700 and involving monasteries,first of all.

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