Although the word ‘ciambella’ usually refers to a cake with a hole in the middle, the Romagnoli like to shape their ciambella into a log. While visiting the town of Cervia I stopped in a pasticceria to have a mid-morning snack.
There were trays of a long flattish yellow cake covered in thick granules of sugar – some were on sale and others were behind the counter. I asked the shop assistant what the cake was called and was told they were ciambella Romagnola. But why were some on sale? ‘Oh, that one is from a few days ago, so it costs less. But I like it more than the fresh one – you slice it and dip it in wine, like you would with cantucci in Tuscany.’
So I took her advice and bought the older one; it was studded with sultanas and tasted of lemon zest. I had an open bottle of Sangiovese back at the apartment and dipped thick slices of the cake into the red wine. What a combination!