The folloviello di Sorrento, a sweet lucky charm for Christmas

by Chiara Sarracino

A bundle of cedar leaves stuffed with citrus fruits, figs and candied grapes to end the year well. The folloviello di Sorrento is one of those desserts that, for fans of the Lord of the Rings, immediately sends the thought back to lembas, the bread of the elves.

In fact it is about a dessert with very ancient origins, perhaps dating back to the time of the Greek Sorrento.
Thanks to aromas released by the leaf (sometimes the one of lemon, more pungent than cedar), it is even more enriched the already full and intense flavor of the filling.

Folloviello di Sorrento
Folloviello of Sorrento

At the origins of folloviello

The origins of the name are steeped in mystery and there are dozens of theories and assumptions. In fact, there are those who think the name both son of the Latin "folia volvere“, or wrap the leaf. Others think the name comes from "Follaro“, Name of a ancient coin of Sorrento.
This dessert, in fact, is quite well known even in Calabria with the name of "grape panicelli”And is found as a typical product of Scalea and Diamante. Which suggests how, among peoples of Greek origin and with a maritime vocation, surely there were cultural exchanges. Really D'Annunzio celebrated these sweets in some verses of his work "Leda without swan“.

I smile thinking of those bundles of compressed and risecche fronds, come from Calabria that one day amazed and enchanted you, when I offered them to you on a tablecloth lying on the grass not yet mown ...

Leda without Swan

Furthermore, let us not forget that in Greece and the Eastern world are very famous i Dolmadakia, which however served as salty appetizer: it is in fact vine leaves that wrap rice balls or meat.

Lembas, pane elfico
The Lembas, elven bread!

A wish for the new year

The dessert, that is typical of the winter period, to New Year's takes on an even more relevant meaning: the filling of the folloviello di Sorrento is in fact full of symbolisms typical of the Mediterranean tradition.
After midnight on New Year's Eve they should in fact be eaten 12 grapes, one for each month: it is one tradition of Spanish origin imported to Italy. THE dried figs, that come straight from our Greek origins, on the other hand, they are auspicious for their sweet and full-bodied flavor. Finally the oranges, which are the touch of scent and flavors of the Amalfi Coast along with the classics lemons of Sorrento.

Dolmadakia Greeks

For the very laborious recipe, we refer you to this articolo.

-Chiara Sarracino

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