Mustacchioni - Miniature Chocolate Almond Tortes
Mustacchioni Miniature Chocolate Almond Tortes. Courtesy ReformJudaism.org
I adapted the following recipe, which has its roots in the port town of Trieste, Italy, from Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food. Many Jewish ships traded between Trieste and Livorno, opening trade from the New World to the Far East. In addition, the use of almonds is indicative of Spanish Jewish influence. Almond cultivation was among the primary occupations of Mediterranean Jews, and it was the Spanish Jews who first replaced flour with ground almonds in baking their tortas.
On Tu B'Shvat, it is customary to eat foods containing the seven species and to bless them. These are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates, and olives. Although not mentioned in Deuteronomy, almonds also figure prominently in this celebration, as they are the first tree to flower in Israel at that time of year.