The lovely town of La Spezia is home to a delicious dessert called MARRONERA©. It was conceived, created and registered by Daniela Vettori, a local food blogger. She is behind the popular website called Le Cinque Erbe, which promotes the typical ingredients and gastronomy of Liguria, particularly the areas around the Gulf of Poets, Lunigiana and Cinque Terre in Liguria.
Marronera is a sweet bread loaf obtained with wheat flour, chestnut flour, sugar, fresh eggs, butter, candied orange, raisings, peeled almonds, pine nuts, white wine and cocoa. Once these ingredients are mixed, the dough is given a chestnut shape and baked in the oven. During leavening, the cake gets its characteristic “cracked” and golden surface that is darker than the interior part, which has a beige color and is dotted with raisins and candied orange.
One of secrets behind the unmistakable flavor of the Marronera is the use of genuine ingredients: no preservatives, colorants or additional elements are allowed. The use of simple yet high-quality ingredients give the dessert a distinctive fragrance and porosity. That’s why, in just a few years since its birth in 2009, the Marronera is recognized as a dessert that is rustic yet refined. The dough is worked with techniques that are typical of Liguria’s pastry tradition. The product’s relationship with the territory is evident in the resemblance with the Pandolce Genovese and in the use of some ingredients that are also found in the Castagnaccio Ligure.
Daniela named her creation in honor of the local chestnut cultivar from the Val di Vara, known as “Marronera di La Spezia”. Few plants have remained of this chestnut variety, but there are initiatives being studied for their salvaging.
Daniela Vettori was born in La Spezia and was always fascinated by gastronomic history. “I was intrigued by the cuisine world ever since I was a child. I like to understand what is behind a recipe, its history tied to traditions, territory, fusions or the brilliant intuition of a creative chef.” She named her blog Le Cinque Erbe to remind us of the marvelous Cinque Terre and the fresh and scented herbs that are often used in Ligurian recipes.