And, of course, we cannot forget His Majesty the Torroncino, the real link between the past and the present of San Marco dei Cavoti. We are talking of a delicious bar made from almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, honey and dark chocolate which has made this small village of 3,000 souls famous throughout the peninsula and the world, even as far away as in Japan and Australia. This is ‘Made in Italy’. It all began in 1891 when Innocenzo Borrillo, returning home from Naples, where he had been an apprentice in some pastry shops learning the secrets of the Neapolitan confectionary school, decided to open a small shop, inventing from nothing this croccantino, then patenting it in the second decade of the 20th century. “Then, I still didn’t use chocolate. The original version was the crunchy bar of almonds and hazelnuts covered with a glaze of sugar darkened with cocoa”, explains Innocenzo Borrillo, who took his grandfather’s name and carried on the historical tradition of the family.
“Today,” he smiles, “it has become a niche torroncino for the nostalgics”. Up to the 1980s, only two businesses could be found in the village – that of Borrillo and of the Serio confectionary – while today there are 10 local companies producing the torrone and the business has become a key element in the local economy. If you want to sample one of these delights and also see the phases in its production – and without being detrimental to the others, those of the Altare company seem to be better in quality and originality – then you must save the date on your calendar for the Festival of the Torrone and Croccantino, which for more than 20 years brings the medieval village to life every weekend from December 8 to Christmas Eve.