Guardiagrele Torrone – A Storyteller’s Sweetmeat

Not many Abruzzo sweets can boast being the favourite of Ignazio Silone, the region’s most famous international author acclaimed for his Abruzzo Trilogy.  This Guardiagrele hard-baked torrone was created by pasticceria genius Giuseppe Palmerio after a visit to Naples in 1884, combining toasted almonds, cinnamon and glacé fruit.  Silone shared his sweet tooth indulgence frequently amongst his friends in Rome, it made me think of panforte others in the know torroni campani.

I like to think of him writing as he rubbed the beautiful unchanged bright tricolor wrappers between his fingers and bit down onto the rich dark crunchy brittle, pondering this nation of many, its rich but challenging social history, the close-knit family as a substitution for state. How many changes would he notice below the surface in the 40+ years since his death in 1978.

Giuseppe’s shop, Pasticceria Palmerio remains open, another one of those Abruzzo step back in time moments as you view its interior and read Gabriele d’Annunzio poetry on its walls.  It’s worth a visit if you’re in Guardiagrele, a sweetie to accompany your espresso, a taste and texture a million miles away from the more famous soft chocolate torrones of L’Aquila.   You may want to try his famous other peaked creation, the custard pastry “l’e tre cime o sise delle monache”, so named (depending who you believe) on the three mountains that surround Guardiagrele or the 3 breasts from the Poor Clares as they stuffed material under their habits to disguise their feminine detractors.

Wordplay – The word ‘torrone’ comes from the latin ‘torreo’ meaning to toast.

Address: Pasticceria Palmerio, Via Roma, 70,  Guardiagrele, Chieti   Tel: 0871 82727


Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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