If you have ever been in the land of sun and sea, even if only passing through, you will certainly have tasted the Neapolitan sfogliatella. Do you know when and where it was born?
Anyone who has ever found themselves, even if only passing through, in the land of the shimmering sea and sunny people, couldn't help but taste the highlight of the local pastry: his majesty the sfogliatella.
A sweet loved by young and old alike, it has been a symbol of the city for years, but do you know its history?
We are in 1600, in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, between Furore and Conca dei Marini, in the convent of Santa Rosa. The cloistered nuns who lived there, in order to keep themselves busy and avoid contact with the outside world, filled their day with activities that were almost always culinary: they cultivated the land, baked bread, created recipes and new dishes which, however, always tended to be similar.
One day, however, one of the nuns, Clotilde, noticed some leftover semolina soaked in milk. It was obviously not an option to waste it, so she followed her intuition and tried mixing it with ricotta, dried fruit and limoncello. At that point he used it as the filling of a dough, diluted with white wine and lard, and closed the sheets into a shape resembling a monk's hood, and so the Santarosa was born.
The cake was immediately appreciated within the monastery, so much so that they decided to offer it to the people in exchange for a few coins, which is why it was named after the monastery where it was created.
When did it arrive in Naples?
The sfogliatella, or rather the Santarosa, then takes shape in the Amalfi Coast but when does it arrive in Naples?
It took 200 years to reach the foot of Vesuvius. Pasquale Pintauro created a new version by modifying the Santarosa. He eliminated the cream and sour cherries from the filling, thinned the pastry, removing the reference to the monk's hat, and gave life to the sfogliatella.
At that point, he transformed his small tavern in Via Toledo into a renowned workshop, which still hands down the historic sfogliatella from generation to generation. Today Pintauro's shop is still there, under new management but with its historic sign and the smell of freshly baked sfogliatella wafting through Via Toledo. Available in both the curly and shortcrust varieties, it is ready to give emotions to tourists who taste it for the first time and to Neapolitans themselves, in love with the fragrance and flavours of this piece of tradition.
There are two versions of the original sfogliatella in the Neapolitan pastry tradition: the classic riccia, with a thin pastry, and the frolla, made with shortcrust pastry. In addition to these two versions, there is also the Santarosa version, with cream and black cherries in syrup, which is more common in the Salerno area where it originates.
Moving away from the traditional versions, there is also the lobster tail, with a more elongated shape and a varied filling (usually cream, chocolate, hazelnut cream or custard) or more original and even savoury versions, with salami, ricotta friarielli and various other fillings.
So there's something for everyone, now all you have to do is taste them all and go in search of your favourite!