Italian desserts are plentiful and varied. Each small town has at least one well known dessert for which they are famous.
In some of the Northern regions such as Lombardy, dry, crumbly cakes such as Sbrisolona from Mantova are all the rage. In the South, heavier, creamy desserts like the Cassata from Sicily or the Pastiera from Naples are signature dishes.
Throughout the country there is also a strong tradition of chocolates, often mixed in with nuts such as Torrone.
Another example of this type of “Italian chocolate bar” are the croccantini. They are tasty bars of ground hazelnuts coated with extra fine plain chocolate.
Italy also has a number of rare dessert wines to pair with these sweets. Years ago the lion’s share of sweet wines were based on white grapes such as Gewurztraminer, Moscato, and Malvasia. Today many types of wines are made into dessert wines. Even grapes that traditionally make robust red wines such as Primitivo di Manduria are being made into sweet wines.
Vigne e Vini, a winery from Apulia makes a lovely dessert wine from Primitivo called Chicca while Oltrepo’ Pavese near the Lombard city of Pavia also makes its own dessert wine called Sangue di Giuda.
This wine is made from a blend of three grapes, Croatina (65%), Barbera (25%, and Uva Rara (10%). These grapes are all indigenous or native to the area.
Light and somewhat fruity, this particular wine is a great surprise to many people. It has a beautiful color and a big frothy mousse. It has strawberry and raspberry aromas on the nose and the palate.
If you need a bottle of something esoteric to bring to someone’s house, try Sangue di Giuda, guaranteed it will be an interesting evening.