Food & Drink Magazine

Santa Anatolia and Serpentone Alle Mandorle Cakes

By Marialiberati

High up on a hill lies the beautiful little town of Saint trip here to see my friend the Contessa on a sunny crisp, fall day was an experience in tranquility...

This medieval town that boasts 384 inhabitants, seems to welcome you as you enter the sanctuary of Saint Anatolia..and are entranced by the charming beauty of the little church decorated with frescoes...

As you walk through you can't help but be overwhelmed by the view of the mountains and the little houses that seem to decorate the landscape..

Eating all'aperto (in the open) was a true feast for the senses..the food,, the wine..the view,.the air...not easy to concentrate on conversation as the beauty of the 'bella vista' beckoned...but alas our yearly visit ended with espresso and a sweet....Fall is the best time of year to visit San,Anatolia..the sun still shines down on this little hamlet a spotlight..right before the cold winter air arrives..

Legend has it that in AD 249, Anatolia, a martyr and saint, was put in a sack with poisonous snakes, but the very next day she emerged miraculously unharmed. So her legend is related to crushing the snakes as in good over evil.

The long standing tradition (over 16 centuries) of the Serpentone alle Mandorle cakes that are still traditionally prepared on the 10th of July in Sant'Anatolia di Borgorose for the feast of the Holy Virgin and the Martyr Anatolia, to commemorate her martyrdom in the city of Cartone.

Snake-shaped cakes, typical in many areas of Italy, are prepared at the change of seasons to indicate the the cycle of death and rebirth that made this animal the symbol, in ancient times, of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. A tradition linked to a symbol of pre-Christian origin.

The almond: the main ingredient of the Serpentone di Sant'Anatolia, it is said to signify that breaking the shell of an almond means reaching the end of a journey that allows you to discover the heart of things.
With a bitter aftertaste and just a hint of lemon, the Serpentone di Sant'Anatolia is has a characteristic "coiled" shape, and is often decorated with two red cherries as eyes and an almond as a tongue.

If you want to attend the feast..

Sant'Anatolia is located between Lazio and Abruzzo.... and in the province of Rieti

So does anyone have a recipe for the Serpentone Alle Mandorle.. If you do please share here..

For recipes and Holidays get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions- 2nd edition

Santa Anatolia Serpentone Alle Mandorle Cakes
Santa Anatolia and Serpentone Alle Mandorle Cakes

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