The early morning hours in Salento are a “sweet awakening” thanks to the pleasant smell coming from the several pastry shops scattered throughout the territory. A delicious treasure gifted by this Land, waiting to be tasted.
The famous “quantiere”, trays filled with pasticciotti (local pastry filled with ricotta cheese or egg custard) or other local pastries (fruttone, bocca di dama, parigina, diplomatica), are the visitors’ favourite souvenir of this land. Only pastry chefs from Salento are able to create such an exclusive taste. If we were to map top-quality pastries, our map would be filled with dots.
Every village in Salento has its own artisan excellence, prestigious names and actual artworks made of egg white, flour and sugar. It would be nice to see these local products in some sort of kermesse, a brilliant show of colors, smells and flavors, sweets and delicacies, a treat for the eyes, the nose and the palate.
The art of confectionery has an ancient story as well, recorded both in bibliographic sources and local events, such as the telegram sent on April 20 th by the Secretariat of the Chamber of Commerce in Lecce to the local press: “This morning Their Royal Highnesses Prince Umberto and Duke of Bergamo visited the Apulian Pavilion and extremely appreciated the Mostra Salento (lit. Exhibition Salento). Prince Umberto especially admired the Mostra Cesano for its delicious products”.
The Company Raffaele Cesano, a pioneer in this sector, played a key role in the history of confectionery in the Land of Otranto. In the years after the unification of Italy, the Company owned a “great plant in Lecce, a successful cafe in Piazza Sant'Oronzo”.
The company was lead by Raffaele along with his young son Francesco, who - after his father’s death -took the reins of the activity creating, by the end of the nineteenth century, “The First Factory of Sugary Products in Salento”.
Some of the first cafes in Lecce were “Caffè Giancane”, the famous “Pasticceria Alvino”, “Caffè Sciarlò”, the awarded pastry shop “Pasticceria Adolfo Candico”, the company Giuseppe Cappello and others.
In Galatina, the family Ascalone has been bequeathing the Art of baking for centuries.
The Land of Salento hosts several skilled pastry chefs, and it is impossible to recall all the masters who honored the name of this art all around the world.