The Brigidini Biscuits of Lamporecchio

It is all thanks to Sister Brigida that we are blessed today with these delicious wafer biscuits. It is she who used to regularly busy herself preparing the dough to make the, now famous, biscuits. It all started when Brigida and the other sisters at her convent in Lamporecchio, so as to not waste anything, used to add aniseed to the normal mixtureto make wafers and then baking them as normal, creating in this way the famous brigidini, little biscuits which have brought fame to the small town of Lamporecchio in Pistoia.

The brigidini are small, circular aniseed-flavoured wafers which can be found throughout Tuscany in the many town festivals and fetes. The distinctive rhymical puffing sound, which can always be heard when close to the shelves on which the delicious biscuits are stacked, is actually the noise of the machine that cooks the biscuits.

The machine is in fact a type of corkscrew, with a nozzle which pipes the dough onto a small, round, heated plate; a second plate, lower than the first, then meets with the other plate squashing the dough into shape and imprinting the trademark design of a 5 petal flower onto the biscuit in the process; the dough is then cooked and afterwards the two plates separate and the finished biscuit is pushed out from mould by a mechanical arm, by now golden brown and smelling irresistable. It is almost dangerous to pass by the machine when it is in operation, making these delightful treats, because the smell is so irresistable that it is impossible to walk by without buying at least 1 bag of biscuits!

The name of these biscuits has always been linked to their hometown of Lamporecchio (perhaps because Sister Brigida’s greedy convent is located right there and certainly because Lamporecchio has always been very much involved with the production of brigidini biscuits and other types of sweets).

Lamporecchio is situated in the province of Pistoia near the slopes of Montalbano, just a few kilometres from Montecatini. It is essentially a small, agricultural centre which is now famous for its production of sweets, along with the production of olive oil and pressed flowers.

Several buildings in Lamporecchio clearly demonstrate the ancient origins of the town. The Santa Maria Assunta Church, which sits not far away from the town centre, is part of a building which dates back to the beginning of the last millenium. Inside, it houses a 13th century wooden sculpture, the Madonna del Pruno, which is famous for the supposed miraculous qualities it is said to possess. San Baronto Abbey also has very ancient origins with the building having been destroyed during the Second World War (but was reconstructed, keeping its original Romanesque style intact). However the crypt on which it lies is held up by columns and arches dating from the 15th century.

Definately worth visiting are the 2 villas situated close to Lamporecchio: the Villa Rospigliosi in Spicchio, which was built by Pope Clement IX in 1600, and the Villa dell’Americana, a 16th century building which was rejuvenated during the last century using a neo-renaissance style.

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