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Christmas cakes - Biscione

The Biscione (big grass snake) traditionally reigned supreme at Christmas and Boxing Day feasts. It contains: almonds, sugar, eggs and candied fruit,

Traditional Food Product

This cake of ancient origins was already known to Marcus Gavius Apicius, the Epicurian who lived during the reign of Tiberius and wrote the oldest treatise on Roman cuisine. According to Numa Ciripiglia, the Biscione consists of a long strip of almond pastry covered in meringue and in the shape of a snake, from which it takes its name.

Biscione (Big grass snake)
The Reggio Emilia Biscione is a classic product of the culinary art of the old patisseries in town. It is typically prepared during the Christmas period, indeed in Reggio Emilia it is also known as Christmas Biscione.
It contains plain ingredients: almonds, sugar, eggs and candied fruit, and is oven-baked. It is made into the shape of a snake or a dragon with open jaws and can sometimes be very long and twisted over several layers of the baking tin. Its surface is covered with meringue which has to be white in colour and have a crumbly texture.
The Reggio Emilia biscione is listed among the traditional food products from the Emilia Romagna region and is currently being assessed for IGP (protected geographical indication) recognition.