Pampepato or Pampapato of Ferrara
Ferrara's Pampepato cake has a very special past, laced with a pinch of history and fragrant spices but it is not "pepato" (peppered) at all.
During the 1600s, the nuns of the Corpus Domini convent in Ferrara, drawing on an old recipe created by the great Renaissance cook Cristoforo da Messisbugo, created a cake to send to the great personages of the age. Cocoa had only recently arrived in Europe, thanks to Cortes. It was a luxury product, only for the few rich people and added like a jewel and a precious powder.
Shaped like a small pumpkin, the dough is enriched with fine almonds or hazelnuts and tasty candied fruit, flavoured with the most fragrant spices and all covered with dark chocolate. The rich cake became the Pan Del Papa (Bread of the Pope). No need to guess to whom this little wonder was dedicated. But through time, poetics or some lost aspect of language, the name was transformed into “Pampapato” and “Pampepato”.
For centuries the two names have lived side by side, but the essence has not changed. It is Christmas and feasts cake, the one that best represents the city's richness and refinery. Its intense flavour and delicious aroma recall the tradition of a territory with a lot of stories and tastes.