Sunday, June 23 2024

Do you know what one of the typical Calabrian sweets of the Christmas vacations is?

It is the Turdilli (in dialect turdiddi or turdiddri), a specialty spread especially in the Cosenza area and made with simple ingredients, the classic ones of the confectionery tradition of southern Italy: flour, eggs, wine, fig honey or other honey… A real treat for the palate, try it to believe!

The origin of Calabrian turdilli

The origin of turdilli is very ancient and their name recalls the Greek word for something small, like the shape of the delicious treats that look like dumplings, complete with streaks.

Legend has it that this sweet was brought to Calabria by the son of Hercules, Bretius, founder of the city of Cosenza.

Turdilli are believed to have secular origins and were prepared for the winter solstice celebrated in some regions of the Mediterranean, and their shape, resembling a spiral, symbolized the incessant succession of the seasons.



Makes about 30 Turdilli


  • 2+1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of honey
  • a sprinkling of cinnamon
  • orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup of sweet white or red wine (you can use Moscato)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • oil for frying
  • colored sprinkles to taste




On the ingredients it is good to make a small clarification: the optional ones refer to different variations of the same recipe and can be put in or not (according to taste); the egg helps more to bind the dough and make it easier to work with.

In our opinion, tradition does not want the egg.

One of the main ingredients in the recipe is the wine: it must be a sweet wine; most people use a white wine, such as Moscato, but the more daring do not disdain a good red wine.

There are those who alternatively use to prepare them with vin cotto or, but we think we are straying from tradition, with vermouth.

Finally, fig honey for the topping, on which a separate chapter should be opened because it is not bee honey but a molasses made from cooked figs prepared for centuries in Calabria with a long procedure.

Finding this product in other parts of Italy may be quite difficult but do not despair, you can possibly substitute it with other bee honey.


In a small saucepan heat the oil and wine, meanwhile sift the flour and add it to the cinnamon and sugar; add the hot oil and wine to the flours and start stirring with a ladle.

This is the time to add the egg or orange zest, if desired.

When the mixture is workable, proceed to knead with your hands until it is smooth and not sticky (help yourself by adding flour as needed).

Then proceed to form the turdilli as you would for gnocchi, create rolls with a diameter of 0.40 inches, cut them into chunks and create the lines on an ice pick or the tines of a fork.

Fry your turdilli in plenty of hot oil and then drain them on paper towels.

To finish, warm the fig honey or other honey just enough to make it more liquid, and swirl the turdilli in gently so that they absorb the honey.

Arrange them on serving plate and decorate with colored sprinkles if you like.

So, aren’t they goodness?






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