Inside a Pugliese Taralli Maker: Taralli con lo zucchero

June 9th, 2008 · Tags: Behind the Scenes · Discovering Food · Food · Holiday · Italy · Puglia · Recipe

Did you figure out what those sugar-coated delights were? Hopefully the hint of Puglia gave you an indication.

I am lucky to spend a lot of time in Puglia, and I love sharing what I see there: going inside a breadmaker’s, going to a festival celebrating mozzarella, an army of orecchiette, or learning how to open and eat sea urchin!

This time around, I’m inside one of my favorite Tarallificio – Biscotteria makers in Manfredonia, Dolciaria Monti. Taralli, (tah-RAHL-lee)a traditional Pugliese snack, is what I like to call “Italy’s Pretzel” – a versatile, crunchy snack made with flour and Pugliese olive oil as the main ingredients.

Inside a Pugliese Tarallificio

Since I have so much to share, I’ll be talking more about how taralli are made and various forms of them this week, but for today, I’ll tell you more about the taralli posted on Friday.

They have several names – Taralli / Taralluci con lo zucchero – Tarallini glassati – Glassati al limone and a few others I’m sure you’ll inform me of (leave them in the comments!).

These taralli also had a special function: they were once used in la colazione, “the breakfast” which was not actually breakfast, but something given to wedding guests as a sort of bomboniere, or wedding favor, including tarallucci con lo zucchero and scaldatelli, which I’ll talk about soon. S’ grandmother can remember La Colazione being used in weddings in that area but now it’s practically extinct as a practice.

The dough for these taralli dolci sweet taralli is not the same dough as the savory ones. It’s slightly sweeter, and the flavor of the oil is not as prevalent in the savory ones. They are also much thicker than normal taralli, so it still has a firmer exterior but a softer semi-cakey/crumbly inside.

That is, once you get past the sugar glaze. The lovely, super-lemony sugar glaze which I think I could drink if not under constant supervision.

The glaze is first heated on the stove, where it’s stirred until the correct consistency is reached. I’ll be speaking more about the family that runs this tarallificio but, as you can see, these taralli con lo zucchero are this girl’s favorite kind. She looked on wistfully until she got a chance to stir, too.

Watching the glaze be prepared for the taralli

After the glaze is ready, the taralli are dipped and set on wire racks to drip off excess glaze. If you’d like to put your mouth underneath to catch the drips, you’re not alone. The smell in the small kitchen is enough to drive you crazy.

Pugliese Taralli con lo zucchero dripping

The stainless-steel counter underneath also serves a second purpose. When the taralli have stopped dripping but the glaze is still warm, a pastry scraper gathers up all the excess with a few efficient swipes.

Pugliese Taralli con lo zucchero being dipped

Another Pugliese army is assembled and ready, similar to the orecchiette. After they cool down enough, they’ll be weighed and put into plastic bags for sale. I never forget a bag for our taralli order.

An army of Pugliese Taralli con lo zucchero

How would you eat these sugary, lemony treats? Have you eaten them before?

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21 responses so far ↓

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  • 1
    yasmina // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Wow, I’ve never eaten the sweet ones before! They look great! Do they go better with coffee or tea? Or hot chocolate? Informative reportage as always, Sara… :)

    *reminds self to go look for some taralli con lo zucchero at the bakery today*

  • 2
    David // Jun 9, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I wonder how they’d be dipped in chocolate??

  • 3
    miriam // Jun 9, 2008 at 12:54 pm


  • 4
    Stacy // Jun 9, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    YUM!! those look delicious. I’ve never been to Puglia (unfortunately) but will have to put them on my list of “to trys” because my mouth started watering as you were describing them. they look sooooooo good…

  • 5
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Jun 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    @Yasmina – I think they would go great with coffee or tea! They are pretty big, though, so they may not fit in the tazzina :)
    @David – Before or after the glaze? :O

  • 6
    Ceri // Jun 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Yasmina, send some over if you find some, I love the savoury ones but have never seen sweet ones…..mmmmmhhhhhhh!

  • 7
    Jen of a2eatwrite // Jun 9, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I haven’t eaten them before but I’d want dark coffee with mine. Or an espresso with lemon peel.

  • 8
    Clumbsy Cookie // Jun 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Wow, wow, wow! You have ni idea how I love taralli! But I have never heared of this kind, dipped in sugar. They must be like crunchy doughnuts!

  • 9
    Hillary // Jun 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Oh man, how could a picture like that not make one drool?! Thanks for sharing! Any recipes for the glaze?

  • 10
    My Sweet & Saucy // Jun 10, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Oh my gosh…these look fantastic! So gooey, yummy, sticky, messy…I love them!

  • 11
    Jeff // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Would you believe that I don’t actually go for these much?!! I love things sweet but to me it’s just tooo sweet.
    I, on the other hand, have a big bag of normal taralli with peperoncino at home that I need to finish.
    I didn’t see the contest on identify this but I would have gotten it easy because I know someone who eats this sweet taralli so it’s always in my house anyway in case they come over for dinner. They eat it after dinner as a desert!


  • 12
    italianfoodie // Jun 10, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    mmmmm I’ve never had them this way before and I want them NOW!!!:)

  • 13
    michelle @ TNS // Jun 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    hurrah for puglia! (i’m brindisina)

    i love taralli, although i prefer savory (black pepper, yum) to sweet.

  • 14
    Nicisme // Jun 11, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Not heard of them before but I sure would like to try one, or a few!

  • 15
    foodlover // Jul 6, 2008 at 10:30 am

    yummy..sounds good it my first time..

  • 16
    Karen // Aug 14, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Just found your post! I just wrote a small piece about the Tarralli di Ferragosto that my town outside of Naples goes nuts about right now. The ones I had weren’t lemon flavored though. I think I’ll have to keep searching… my neighbor promised an outing to ‘the best’ place so we shall see! Ciao, Karen

  • 17
    Cathy Rocca // May 7, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Taralli con lo zucchero – can you get the recipe for the glaze – any idea how its made.

    Would greatly appreciate a recipe


  • 18
    Noel Furano // Sep 5, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Does anyone have the recipe for theses?????/

  • 19
    Carmela // Sep 25, 2010 at 2:11 am

    I have never eaten the sweet ones, but would certainly love to try some, especially with a good espresso!!!

  • 20
    joe rutigliano // Dec 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    i grew up eating them in bari.none of us remember how mom made the glaze..does anyone remember or know the recipe..grazie molto

  • 21
    Jean // Dec 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Do you have recipe for cookie and glaze?

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