San Marino, also commonly called the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, is a European microstate in southern Europe, neighbored by Italy. It is situated on the north-eastern slope of the Apennine Mountains and is the fifth-smallest country in the world. The country’s scenery is dominated by Mount Titano, which is part of the Appennine range.
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Most Popular Sammarinese Dishes
Sammarinese cuisine is quite similar to Italian cuisine, especially that of the neighboring Marche areas and Emilia-Romagna.
The locals of San Marino consume a wide variety of meat, including rabbit, beef and pork. The country’s chief agricultural goods include wine, cheese and livestock, with the production of cheese being the main economic activity.
Here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of San Marino along with recipes to try for yourself.
Photo Credit: Peter Smith
Bustrengo is a fruit dessert prepared using cornmeal, raisins, flour, old bread or breadcrumbs, olive oil, eggs, milk, apples, honey, figs, and orange and lemon zest.
Although eaten throughout the year, bustrengo is especially popular around the Christmas season. Also well-liked in Bologna, this cake was traditionally baked in a fireplace in a copper kettle with a lid over a bed of hot coals. Bustrengo is often served in tiny pieces, preferably with a shot of sweet wine on the side, because of how thick and dense it is.
Polenta is essentially boiled cornmeal that can either be served hot like porridge, or cooled down and hardened into a loaf that can be baked, fried or grilled.
The kind of cereal used is often yellow maize, but buckwheat, white maize, or combinations of the two are also frequently used. Finer grinds provide a smooth, creamy polenta; coarser grinds produce a solid, gritty version of this dish. It is also considered a staple of Northern Italian, Balkan and Swiss cuisines.
Nidi Di Rondine
Nidi di rondine is a type of pasta casserole consisting of Italian cheese, prosciutto, basil, along with lasagna sheets and béchamel sauce. A dish is coated with marinara sauce and then the pasta is rolled into cylinders and placed side by side into it and baked in the oven until browned.
The name of the dish means swallow’s nest, which is how the final dish looks when it’s ready to serve. Nidi di rondine can be prepared and kept for 1-2 days by placing them in the refrigerator and enclosing them in clear plastic.
Verretta is a chocolate-covered wafer cake with a filling of wafers, hazelnuts, and soft cocoa cream. The dessert’s name is derived from the crossbowmen’s arrows employed in historical Sammarinese tournaments, which are symbolized by the arrow engraved on the dessert’s top.
This dessert is usually accompanied by a glass of quality dessert wine, such as Moscato di San Marino.
Piadina is a thin Italian flatbread prepared using lard or olive oil, white flour, salt and water traditionally baked in a terracotta dish (although more modern equipment is commonly used these days).
The dish is mostly eaten as a snack, however it is sometimes also eaten for lunch or breakfast.
Cappelletti is a type of Italian pasta in the shape of a ring, typically served in a meat broth or meat sauce. It is similar to tortellini but with slightly different fillings and sizes.
The name ‘cappelletti’ is a reference to its resemblance to a hat (capello). The recipe originates in Emilia-Romagna and Marche but is now a staple of San Marino.
Cappelletti can also be eaten with a simple walnut sauce, in gently heated heavy cream, or with browned butter and fresh sage.
Torta Tre Monti
Torta tre monti is a cake made of layers of wafers, hazlenut cream and chocolate, finished of with chocolate fondant on top.
The name, Torta tre monti, is in reference to the Three Towers of San Marino – one of the country’s national symbols and a popular tourist destination.
Torta tre monti is usually served with a scoop of ice cream and a cup of coffee on the side.
Titan cake is an almond confection prepared in two layers filled with ingredients such as eggs, peanuts, chocolate and honey. It is often decorated with dark chocolate or chocolate chips.
Strozzapreti are a type of hand-rolled pasta that is used in many dishes including monkfish ragù, roasted tomatoes and white beans, or a simple tomato sauce.
The name ‘Strozzapreti’ means priest choker because they were originally invented by villagers hoping the shape would cause priests to choke, since they were seen as greedy, rich rulers of the land.
Bean soup is a dish that is prepared using dried navy beans, ham, onions, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, carrots and celery. It is typically accompanied by greens (such as cauliflower, boiled cabbage, or sausage and sauerkraut), cornbread and potatoes (fried or stewed).
Ingredients like ramps or raw chopped onions may be added as garnish. Traditionally eaten for dinner, it occasionally also includes pig rinds.
This dish is regarded as a main course, but it can also be a side dish. The dried beans were considered a staple in rural regions when there was a lack of food throughout the winter.