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Enogastronomia bergamasca


Bergamo is a city rich in culinary traditions, from antipasti to desserts to the ever-present Moscato di Scanzo.

Casoncelli Bergamo.jpg
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In Bergamo dialect they are called Casonsèi and they are tasty crescent-shaped ravioli, typical of Bergamo cuisine, characterized by a sweet and sour filling that encompasses the flavors and tradition of the area.


They are prepared with fresh pasta and a meat filling, all seasoned with melted butter, bacon, parmesan cheese and sage. In the filling, in addition to minced beef and pork, grana padano cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs, there are amaretti biscuits, sultanas, pears and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.


In truth, the recipe has many interpretations, and each restaurant offers its own version.


The origins of Casonsèl are very ancient: they date back to the 1300s. As a notarial deed attests. On 13 May 1386 in the Upper Town, a party was held for two thousand people, in which «chopping boards filled with artibotuli, otherwise called Casoncelli» were offered.  This «poor» dish was born from the need to reuse leftover beef and pork. Starting from the 19th century, the filling was enriched with amaretti biscuits, sultanas and lemon zest; while the addition of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and other aromatic herbs dates back to more recent times.


A legend states that the particular sweet and sour filling of the Casonsèl is due to the will of a miserly man who, to sanctify the holidays, wanted to create a single dish that combined both savory and sweet.

I Casoncelli
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An Orobic drink for a Donizetti-style happy hour.

Tony Foini, famous bartender of the Bergamo bistro "Le Iris", created the Donizetti Spriss, a revisited classic (inspired by the Veneto long drink: spritz) in the name of the most illustrious character of the city.


The main ingredient could only be the “Elisir d'amore bitter 24” from the Sarnico Distilleries.

Donizetti Spriss
gelato stracciatella
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Who invented Stracciatella? The Stracciatella ice cream recipe was born in Bergamo in 1961. Its inventor is Enrico Panattoni, who emigrated with his wife in the 1940s from Tuscany to Bergamo. Passionate about cooking and pastry, after having opened a small shop in the old village, he took over La Marianna, also in Bergamo Alta in the Colle Aperto area. 
Even if Enrico Panattoni is no longer there, La Marianna continues to be a family-run pastry shop much loved by the people of Bergamo.

In 2017, the stracciatella became a collective brand, filed with the patent office of the Chamber of Commerce of Bergamo, which identifies the ice cream parlors and the project promotion and communication initiatives. 
The specification provides for the use of the following simple ingredients: mixture of fresh milk and cream and dark chocolate with a minimum of 58% cocoa. The production process starts with the creaming of the Fiordilatte, to which a dose of hot dark chocolate is added which, thanks to the beating of the blades of the batch freezer, "shreds" the chocolate while it solidifies. The effect recalls that of a whole egg beaten in boiling broth, a soup known as Stracciatella alla romana.


This is why Enrico Panattoni baptizes the new ice cream flavor he has created as Stracciatella.
How to recognize the real Stracciatella? Just look in the ice cream parlors for the brand "La Stracciatella the ice cream of Bergamo".

La stracciatella
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Polenta e osèi (polenta and birds) is not only a second course based on polenta and game, but it is also a characteristic dessert originating from our city, ultra-caloric and very tasty.

Walking through the streets of the Upper Town, you will find the windows full of these yellow, dome-shaped sweets, decorated with chocolate marzipan. They exist in all sizes, from the single portion to the version for large tables. The shape reproduces the classic savory dish, but the ingredients are anything but.

It is prepared using molds in the shape of a half sphere, to simulate polenta that has just been turned over, from the copper pan to the wooden board.

The constituent elements are sponge cake, butter, hazelnut and chocolate creams, marzipan, granulated sugar, and a touch of rum.

Its origins date back to the early years of the last century and, precisely, to 1910, the year in which Amadeo Alessio created this sweet for the first time together with his wife Giuseppina with whom he had managed the Milanese pastry shop since 1907.

Image by Max Griss
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A simple and quick dessert, similar to the Margherita cake but with the typical donut shape, with the addition of candied apricots and pineapples and flavored with vanilla and maraschino. 


A cake and a legend… 

It is said that one evening our Gaetano Donizetti was having dinner with Gioacchino Rossini. But Gaetano's mood was dark and painful due to a love pain that had stolen his smile, as well as his appetite. It was then that Rossini, fed up with seeing his friend afflicted, and in order not to have dinner completely ruined, asked his personal chef to prepare a simple, quick dessert capable of putting his friend in a good mood again. The cook set to work and returned with a soft donut, covered in icing sugar, with a surprise of candied pineapple and apricot nuggets, and scented with vanilla and maraschino. Donizetti liked the cake a lot! Since then, in the streets of the city, it is easy to hear these words echoing: "If you're lovesick, a slice of Turta del Donizèt is enough and everything will pass".


The true story of the Donizetti Cake

Although the legend may seem plausible and decidedly suggestive, the truth is another. This dessert was not invented by Rossini's chef, but created and patented by Alessandro Balzer in 1948, on the occasion of the centenary of Donizetti's death (April 8, 1848). For those who know or are about to know Bergamo, the Balzer is a historic pastry shop in Bergamo, which since 1936 overlooks the Sentierone, an important avenue in Bergamo, opposite the Donizetti Theater.

Torta Donizetti
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