Pampepato of Ferrara
Although Ferrara's Pampepato cake has a very special past, laced with a pinch of history and fragrant spices, it's not pepato (peppered) at all.
During the 1600s, the nuns of the Corpus Domini convent in Ferrara, drawing on an old recipe created by the great Renaissance cook Cristoforo da Messisbugo, created a cake to send to the great personages of the age. Cocoa had only recently arrived in Europe, thanks to Cortes. It was expensive, a luxury commodity, reserved only for the few and added as if a jewel, a precious powder. In the form of a small pumpkin, the dough enriched with fine almonds or hazelnuts and tasty candied fruit, flavoured with the most fragrant spices and all covered with plain chocolate, the rich cake was ready and became the Pan del Papa (Bread of the Pope). No need to guess to whom this little wonder was dedicated. But through time, poetics or some lost aspect of language the name was transformed into “Pampapato” and “Pampepato”, although it's really not pepato (peppered) at all. For centuries, the two names have lived side by side, but the essence has not changed a bit. It is Ferrara's Christmas cake, its party cake, the cake that best represents the city's richness and refinery. It's the cake whose intense flavour and delicious aroma recall the tradition of a territory with a lot of stories and many strong tastes. The pleasure of a sweet story.