Taralli: the Italian gourmet crunchy treat for connoisseurs from Puglia
September 21, 2021
Taralli is a very popular snack from southern Italy and is the expression of a centuries-old tradition of Italian baked goods. In terms of consistency, the round oval taralli curls resemble their straight-curved counterparts, the grissini. The traditional cuisine of the region of Apulia (Italian: Puglia) is characterised by the richness of its dishes, prepared with simple ingredients of exceptional variety and flavour. This Italian apéritif pastry is part of this tradition and is an absolute must for all Italian gourmets.
The Taralli snack: the curved bread sticks
It is not clear where the word taralli or tarallo comes from. There are many hypotheses: some say from the Latin ‘torrère’ (toast) or ‘teris’ (long and round), others from the French ‘toral’ (dryer). Based on the round shape, it is assumed that tarallo comes from the Italian word ‘tar’ (wrap).
The origins of this gourmet aperitif biscuit Taralli date back to 1400, when farmers offered it to guests with their wine. The taralli are aromatic, tasty and are characterised by the double baking process that makes them uniquely crispy. As soon as the dough is ready, it is boiled, drained and then baked in the oven to give it the distinctive golden colour.
It was eaten in taverns, where it was accompanied by a simple house wine. Taralli specialists say they should be eaten soaked in seawater. These days, however, this refinement is not absolutely recommended given the state of our oceans.
Taralli are an absolute delicacy from Puglia. It’s still a classic that you can buy at the kiosks along the beach promenade and eat while taking a walk.
The taralli are made using the ‘natural wonders’ of the country of origin, as the locals proudly claim: water, flour, olive oil – preferably extra virgin olive oil – and a pinch of salt, originally without a trace of yeast. For centuries, taralli have been refined by adding fennel and onion seeds as well as chilli (taralli finocchio, cipolla and taralli peperoncino), local wines and other spices. They are ideal as a snack with sausage and cheese or raw food, but can also be enjoyed on their own.
The production of Taralli at Di Bennardo
Skillful hands mix the best flours with extra virgin olive oil, white wine and salt and knead them until an elastic dough is formed. The dough sticks are then made and hand-rolled into the distinctive doughnut shape, placed on perforated trays and boiled.
They are then baked in the oven until they take on the typical golden colour of the wheat. A special feature of our production is that we do not use any chemical additives in order to maintain the high quality of our dough and thus guarantee a digestible and healthy diet.
All baked goods from our Italian bakers in Puglia are packed by hand on the same day to preserve the scent of the freshly baked goods. In addition, all our baked goods are carefully and conscientiously inspected in accordance with the standards laid down by the European Union to ensure the high quality of Italian apéritif pastries.
Our southern Italian bakers knead small golden jewels that smell of home and bring home memories of sunny fields, granaries, farms and hard-working hands to your table. We give you insights into the country of Puglia.
Our diverse Taralli creations
Our taralli creations offer the right flavour for any lover of hearty apéritif biscuits. So if you’re looking for unique gourmet snacks, the crispy Taralli snack is just the thing for you.
Our Taralli Nature, also known as Taralli Classico by many Italians, are the perfect taralli for purists. Here, the basic ingredients of wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt and white wine merge to form a perfect blend.
Another classic amongst gourmet curved bread sticks is Taralli al finocchio (with fennel seeds). The intense fennel flavours perfectly underscore the savoury basic ingredients and are a perfect accompaniment to the antipasti plate.
Overview: Distribution of varieties in southern Italy
Taralli are also widespread in other regions of southern Italy, and their varieties are currently recognised as traditional Italian agricultural and nutritional products in the following regions:
Apulia: Taralli, black taralli with vincotto, taralli with sugar, taralli with chocolate, taralli with egg white, taralli with pizzaiola, taralli with fennel seeds, taralli with capocollo
Campania: plaited taralli, tarallini with wine, tarallo with almonds, tarallo with egg, tarallo from Agerola, tarallo with bacon and pepper, tarallucci al naspro
Calabria: white taralli, soft taralli, tarallini with aniseed, tarallini with fennel seeds, tarallini with chilli
Basilicata: Tarallini with fennel seeds, tarallini with paprika, taralli with sugar, taralli with aviglian sugar (much larger than usual)
Molise: Taralli with fennel seeds
Taralli recipe: The basic recipe for making yourself
There are two methods for preparation and baking: in the first, the dough is baked in the oven immediately after rising, in the other, it is placed in hot water for a few seconds and then baked in the oven.
Regardless of the method of preparation, the basic ingredients are soft wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, yeast and water.
Mix the flour with the yeast, adding 20 to 30°C warm water and 2% salt.
The amount of water depends on the humidity in the environment and the type of flour used, as this affects the water absorption capacity of the flour. The ratio may vary, but generally the dough consists of 35% to 40% water and about 20% extra virgin olive oil, before the flavours and spices are added.
The dough is processed by the experienced hands of the bakers and then cut into sticks about 15 cm long. These are then twisted and/or knotted and left to rise on a floured surface under a cotton cloth, protected from drafts and in a temperate environment.
At the end of the fermentation process, which lasts differently depending on the environmental conditions, the amount of yeast used and the type of flour used, the taralli are immersed in hot but not boiling water. As soon as the taralli rise to the surface, they are immediately removed from the water. They are drained and dried on a cloth, then placed in the oven (possibly made of wood) and cooked at a moderate temperature for about one hour.
Detailed overview of how to prepare at home
240 g all-purpose flour
7 g salt
A little yeast
75 ml white wine
60 g cold-pressed olive oil
Sift the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl, add the wine and oil and knead by hand into a smooth, homogeneous dough.
Form a ball, wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest for an hour.
Place a pan with plenty of salt water on top.
While the water is boiling, take the dough mixture and roll it out with your palms. When doing so, aim to have a diameter of around 1 cm and a length of 8 cm; wrap each wheel in the characteristic shape of the tarallo (you can wrap the dough around your little finger, then press the two ends together and gently pull it with your finger).
Place the taralli in boiling water, seven to eight at a time, remove them with a foam spoon as soon as they come to the surface and let them dry immediately on a towel.
While the taralli are cooking, preheat the oven to 200°C.
Once all the taralli have been cooked, place them in a grease pan lined with baking paper and bake for 30 minutes: the taralli must be coloured on the inside and dry (it is recommended that the chef try one himself to check this).
When they are done, switch off the oven, half open the oven door and let the taralli cool in the oven.
We recommend Italian taralli to…
The flavours with which our taralli can be combined and enriched are intense spices and aromatic herbs such as pepper, oregano, rosemary and paprika, aniseed, sesame, turmeric and thyme – in dips, on antipasti plates or pastes.
It’s best to serve this with a strong wine from Puglia, such as a fruity Primitivo, a Negroamaro or a strong white Grillo from Sicily. Let Italy come alive at home and experience the ultimate culinary delights with our first-class ready-to-eat taralli.
Can the Taralli speciality pastries be ordered online?