So much of traditional Italian family life seems to revolve around the family table. Meals are more than just opportunities to take sustenance. They are family gatherings, opportunities to share news, knowledge, emotions and more. These gatherings—and the food served there—have long been an integral part of the Italian family experience.
The more momentous the gathering, the more interesting the food one might expect to see. This is not to say that the coffee and biscotti put out for family visitors on a Sunday afternoon won’t be great, but food offerings are often tailored to fit the occasion, from an ordinary weekday meal to a major holiday feast.
Desserts also tend to become more memorable for bigger occasions. After all the other courses have been consumed, as the coffee comes out, so do the sweets. And just when you think you couldn’t eat another bite, those tempting sights and aromas convince you otherwise.
Romana Caputo was known for her amaretti, delicious Italian almond cookies that come in several shapes and varieties. Straight from the oven, they have a crisp exterior and a chewy inside that becomes crunchy over time. For any significant family event—baptisms, first communions, special occasions, holidays, etc.—Nonna Romana would make her amaretti, which everybody looked forward to eating.
Were Romana’s cookies that good? Over the years, many friends and family members would come to her, asking her to help them make cookies for their special occasions. Romana Caputo did in fact help them, sometimes making hundreds of pounds of cookies in her small home kitchen.
The amaretti—along with biscotti and fig, lemon, and chocolate spice cookies, to name a few—that we bake from scratch and sell under the La Bella Romana label at Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets are still the same cookies that Romana Caputo used to prepare with so much love and pride. That’s why we do not hesitate to put her name on them. Please try some and see for yourself.