Mostaccioli from Calabria: traditional sweets that inspire the creativity of a great local artist

By Francesco Tirinato - Jump Team

In Soriano Calabro, in the province of Vibo Valentia, typical sweets of the Calabrian gastronomic tradition are produced: mostaccioli. 

These are hard, long-keeping biscuits made with flour, honey, water and hot wine must, shaped and decorated by hand by local craftsmen, known as mastazzolari, who give them anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and ichthyomorphic shapes.

They are currently sold and consumed in the various towns in Calabria, especially at fairs, village festivals and during Christmas and Easter.

According to legend, it was the monks of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno who brought the ancient recipe to Soriano Calabro.  

These typical sweets, with their unmistakable shapes and colours, however, contain symbolic aspects intrinsically linked to the Calabrian farming culture.

And it is precisely by drawing inspiration from the decorations and above all from the symbology enclosed in these traditional sweets that the artist Francesca Ciliberti, who works in her small but fascinating ceramics workshop in Soverato, manages with great skill to imitate those shapes, re-creating rare and unique artistic pieces that obviously add to the numerous list of precious objects that can be admired and naturally purchased in the shop.

In their simplicity, these works are rich in content and meaning, to which the artist adds colours and decorative motifs that make an indelible mark and identify the local tradition.

For example, the decorated heart symbolises love and was given as a gift in the past during engagements, weddings and other love celebrations, as well as the various forms of animals such as horses, fish, goats and roosters, symbolising man’s strong connection with agriculture and nature in general, but mythological creatures such as the mermaid can also be seen.

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