Pitta is a typical dessert of the province of Cosenza and in particular of the town of San Giovanni in Fiore, but today it is widespread throughout the region with some small variations concerning only and exclusively the final shape and not the ingredients.
Thanks to the richness of the filling and the long preparation process , this specialty was particularly linked to important occasions, such as Christmas or wedding parties.
It is a recipe steeped in history; the first documents date back to 1728, the year in which the Giaquinta family granted their daughter Angelica to the landowner Battista Caligiuro, drawing up a marriage contract in which it was also specified that: "... the groom's family will take care of making the guests happy , at the end of the meal, he will have to offer the pitta 'mpigliata, prepared ahead of time, making sure that the pitta is of the right fineness.
It seems that its origins date back to at least the 1700s: this is attested by a notary document found in the municipal archives which stipulated an agreement between the spouses Giaquinta di San Giovanni and Battista Caligiuro , a wealthy landowner who intended to marry their daughter. The contract stipulated that the latter would take care of the wedding banquet and that, at the end of this, the dessert in question should be served.
In reality, the origins of pitta 'nchiusa are even older and deeply connected to Greek history. The term " pitta " derives from the Greek term " picta ", i.e. painted, decorated. In fact, this cake – due to its particular shape – it looks almost painted . In ancient times, in fact, pitta it was offered to the goddesses as a sign of admiration and respect during the celebrations of pagan rites in the temples of the area, such as the famous temple of Hera Lacinia, in the Crotone area.
Later, with the advent of Christianity, many churches were built for celebrate the cult of the Virgin Mary and, also in this case, the sweet offered as a gift was the pitta (hence, the denomination "of the Madonna"). According to tradition, the importance of this dessert was so deeply rooted among Calabrian families that its perfect execution was one of the most requested qualities of brides during the marriage contract.
PITTA 'IMPIGLIATA AND PITTA 'NCHIUSA: THE DIFFERENCES
When we talk about pitta it is good to specify that, depending on the production area, this sweet can have a different name and shape. In fact, pitta is prepared in the Cosenza area spiral shape . The strips of pasta made with dried fruit are put together and rolled up on themselves: hence the adjective 'mpigliata which indicates that the strips of dough are stacked around each other.
In the Crotone area instead, the adjective is used 'nclosed or painting of the Madonna . The first adjective indicates the fact that the roses made with the pasta are collected together in a pan and closed by a layer of underlying pasta which acts as a "container". The second is a name used because, as we have seen, the preparation of the dessert is deeply linked to the Christian cult of the Virgin Mary.