A super bakery with a 200-years-old oven
This bakery makes both sweet and savory goods in the local culinary tradition from the
region, using only regional raw materials to create baked goods that have been
appreciated throughout generations.
The most popular bakery in the region, Allergrinitaly draws a crowd on Sundays after locals have had their Sunday lunch and are looking for something sweet. One of the most purchased items is the biscotti cegliese, which only exists in this city and it is not like a traditional biscotti as it more resembles a cherry marmalade stuffed biscotti. The almond cherry treat remains gluten-free as there is no flour in the dough and limoncello is used to create a non-stick to roll the dough.
It is a playful take on the term “biscotti” which means twice baked, Allegrinitaly explains that the first baking is the toasting of the local Riviez almonds and then the second baking makes the biscuit. The bakery continues to use a 200-year-old oven that is an impressive 12 meters in height. Giuseppe, who has been baking here for 20 years, arrives at 3am to start the fire with olive branches and almond peels.
A delight to watch, Giuseppe is a master at these traditional dishes. It’s not surprising to learn that before he started baking at Allegrinitaly he worked in a pizzeria. If you enjoy any of the baked goods it’s possible to enjoy them at home as Allegrinitaly make it possible to buy cookies and other treats on their website.
We arrived at this popular bakery to learn how to make biscotti cegliese, a traditional
dish from Ceglie that is so uniquely local that people who only live ten kilometers away
have never heard of it.
But locals know about this bakery and its famous biscotti cegliese, in fact they come in
crowds on Sundays after lunch. For this reason it was a special treat that Giuseppe
would show us how to make this biscotti that seemed less like a traditional biscotti that
we know in North America and more like a cherry marmalade stuffed biscotti.
First we needed to start the oven, which is no small feat in itself. The bakery could move to more traditional ovens but continues to use one that is 200 years old. Giuseppe arrives to work at 3am to start the fire with olive branches and almond peels. Next Giuseppe showed us how to make the dough and we learned that it was glutenfree as it’s made with almond flour. Instead of flouring the surface he used limoncello to create a non-stick barrier.
Next we saw him expertly roll the dough out, stuff it with marmalade, roll again and cut off individual pieces. He did it so quickly that it looked so easy. But we knew better so when Giuseppe asked Dave if he wanted to try it at first he declined. But Giuseppe was persistent and encouraged Dave to try to roll the dough. It was a good laugh as Dave really struggled to keep the shape of the sweet almond cookie and he realized he would not have a future at this bakery.
When the cookies went into the fire I asked Giuseppe if they were true biscotti, which means twice baked. He smiled and said the first baking is the toasting of the local Riviez almonds and then the second baking makes the biscuit. They were delicious so I didn’t argue.