A Torta della Nonna Story
My new and dear friends, here in Italy, treated my family to this cake, Torta della Nonna.
Ellen and Arrigo are a couple here in town and engaged to be married this summer. She has dual citizenship, like me, but has been in Italy much longer. Arrigo is her Italian fiancé, and they are the cutest couple, always holding hands, snuggling, and teasing each other. I can’t help but smile every time I’m around them.
I met Ellen when she contacted me via Instagram, back in the fall, after seeing my family’s interview on CNN about moving to Italy. I knew after our initial chats via WhatsApp that we’d be lifelong friends.
(BTW: If you’re planning a trip to Italy, I can’t recommend enough that you check out their gorgeous website for the most beautiful accommodations.)
Now, the story of the day is that my new friends were helping me this week with Italian paperwork down in town. We donned our masks and winter coats, and we piled into their car for the short drive. (Navigating government things like taxes, utilities, or health cards in a foreign language can be hard so I was beyond grateful for their help.)
Naturally, I wanted to thank them by buying them lunch or a coffee or something!
How great was it that Arrigo had the idea that we stop by the bakery on our way home. I thought, “Perfect! I’ll buy them a cake!”
But what do you know? They won’t let me! They buy ME the cake!
Wait! What?! I’m supposed to pay!
But you know what? I chuckle, smile, and shake my head, because life isn’t always a balance sheet. Something I’m learning living here among such wonderful people in this beautiful culture of Italian hospitality and kindness.
To my new friends… I toast to you!
Ellen and Arrigo, your warmth and generosity make me want to cry. I’m so blessed to have such amazing people in my life.
So… the amazing cake they bought us… Torta della Nonna.
From Great Italian Chefs website comes this, “A classic, Tuscan-born tart, Torta della Nonna has to be one of the most widespread and well-known Italian desserts. Its success likely lies in its simplicity: it consists of nothing more than two sheets of slightly leavened sugar pastry enclosing a creamy heart of lemon-scented custard. The top is studded with crunchy pine nuts and dusted with icing sugar, and no variants on this theme have ever gained much momentum.”
I originally shared this post on my Instagram page where Ellen commented, “Arrigo would kill me if I didn’t mention – it’s origins are Central Italy, including Umbria! Those Tuscans, they like to claim everything!!!😂❤️”
This cake, tart, custard concoction is worth the trip to Italy, and, yes, of course, it’s better here, especially when it’s sourced from a tiny bakery in a tiny town.
I love Torta della Nonna…
…because it’s only slightly sweet (which means I eat three slices at a time – in fact, that night’s dinner was a big bowl of ground beef, carnivore style, and a lot of Torta della Nonna, Italian style).
Can you blame me?
It’s hard to eat just one slice with its delectable, cool and creamy-custardy filling, a cookie-like crust around the edge, and leavened pastry… giving you the blissful experience of a bite to please your whole mouth. Your body. Heck, your soul. When I had mine, I asked my family not to talk to me while I ate my piece(s); I wanted total silence, no interruptions, as I cherished each bite, fully present. Italy does that.