Elisabetta is one of those people who has a smile that can light up a room. Following her into her family’s bakery in Prato is one of the most joyful experiences a food lover could wish for. She walks us through the biscotti making process – the recipe at Antonio Mattei has been unchanged since they began in 1858: eggs, flour, almonds, sugar, pinenuts, that’s it – and we’re instructed to pick freshly baked slices off the assembly line. We gleefully oblige.
Everyone at the factory is working in harmony, and it feels like a big, happy family, because, well, it pretty much is. Meanwhile, Elisabetta pulls out other delicious creations for us to try, from tender Mantovana butter cake to brutti buoni, and later, we even try an ice-cream sandwich at their flagship store in Florence.
Everything is delicious, but what’s even more lovable is the integrity and respect for their ingredients, products and the people who make it. The iconic blue bag from Mattei is the only one I reach for when biscotti cravings strike.