The Bolognese Certosino


The Carthusian from Bologna is not a cat or a monk, but it has something to do with the latter. This is obviously a Christmas dessert, also called Pan Speziale, with a long shelf life based on dried and candied fruit, which should be eaten in thin slices.

The Carthusian was initially produced by apothecaries and only later became one of the activities of the Carthusian monks.

It has characteristics similar to the Ferrara pampepato which it has in common for ingredients and consistency. It did not take long for the preparation of this spiced cake on Christmas occasion to become an extremely rooted custom in the Bolognese culture.

As a demonstration of his appreciation, some documents testify that from 1740 the monks followers of San Brunone made a Carthusian of enormous dimensions and delivered it to Pope Benedict XIV, transforming it into a recipe destined also for the most illustrious palates.

Some currents of thought claim that the first name of the Christmas cake “speziale bread” was derived from the dialectal term pan spzièl which means special bread.

Tradition suggests to prepare it well in advance of Christmas because, preserved in the right way, it does not lose its softness but has plenty of time to flavor and develop the pleasant aromatic notes conferred by the spices.

This dessert has indissolubly become part of the Bolognese culture and tradition. So much so that the Bolognese Delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine deposited the “official” recipe in 2001, at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce.

Carthusian Bolognese is a typical Christmas cake but not only, also called Pan Speziale, made with candied dried fruit. A real goodness for the palate

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