You may be familiar with these crunchy cookie toasts
typically sold at Starbucks across the United States. Here they are commonly known as “cantuccini,” and are considered a classic Tuscan pastry.
Prato is home to “Biscottificio”. Antonio Mattei opened his almond biscuit business in the center of Prato in 1858. It is still operating at that same location at Via Riscasoli, 20, not far from the Duomo.
Unlike the biscotti I eat at home these are more like a cookie and don’t need to be dipped in coffee to be enjoyed. If you like a “Mrs. Field’s” style, chewy in the middle cookie, try the “Brutti Boni.” They reminded me of a macaroon with saved almonds instead of coconut.
We also tried the Torta Mantovana. This is named after the city of it’s origin. The story is that Mattei hosted two nuns on their way to Rome for a Jubilee. In thanks for his hospitality they gave him this cake recipe.
Made with fresh eggs, butter, sugar, flour, a hint of lemon and covered with chopped almonds, it is a delicate delight.
Here is a YouTube video for making Mantovana tea cake , afraid if you want to taste any of these other treats you will need to visit Prato, because they taste best fresh.