This Italian pastry store is known for its “sinful” cake named after the pope

Il Picchio, in Loreto, Italy, is thought for a candy deal with with an intimate connection to 3 latest popes: St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. 

Town of Loreto, on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, is thought all through the world for the sanctuary housing the three partitions of the Holy Home of Mary. Within the thirteenth century, based on legend, angels carried the partitions from Nazareth to Italy.

Locals in Loreto, nevertheless, know that there’s a “second sanctuary” of their city: a pastry store often called Il Picchio.

Clients have a tough time selecting in Loreto?€™s famed pastry store, Il Picchio.

Photograph courtesy of Bret Thoman

Whereas all pastries made by Il Picchio are scrumptious, they’re particularly famend for one, specifically: Il Dolce del Papa (the Pope’s Torte). This candy cake has an attention-grabbing story, as it’s linked to 3 latest popes: St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. 

pope's cake
Even the packaging of the Il Dolce del Papa torte is finished to perfection.

Photograph courtesy of Bret Thoman

The creator of the dessert is an beautiful girl named Elisabetta Picchio. Initially from the mountain area of Abruzzo to the south of Loreto, she grew up in simplicity within the “umbrage of San Gabriele” – the sanctuary housing the stays of St. Gabriel of Our Girl of Sorrows. She moved to Loreto after marrying her husband, a firefighter.

As soon as established in her adopted city, she got down to work. She and her sister knew tips on how to sew and bake. Since there have been already too many seamstresses, they opened a bakery. 

Within the early years, Elisabetta attended a cooking academy the place pastry cooks got here along with recipes. There she found a dessert referred to as il Peccato di Gola (The Sin of Gluttony) – a cool butter cream sandwiched between two almond meringues. After perfecting it by rendering it lighter and flakier, the innovation was well-received and her enterprise took off.

pope's cake
The Il Dolce del Papa pastry is greatest eaten when contemporary. The Picchio sells upwards of 250 tortes per day and generally makes a second batch within the early afternoon.

Photograph courtesy of Bret Thoman

A trustworthy girl, she had a very good relationship with the archbishop of Loreto, Mons. Angelo Comastri, throughout his tenure in Loreto from 1996-2005. He, in flip, had a very good rapport with Pope John Paul II. The pope got here to Loreto, actually, 5 instances throughout his hold forth.

Sometimes, Mons. Comastri would ship the pope items from Loreto, together with domestically produced olive oil and breads. One Christmas, he requested Elisabetta Picchio for a panettone, a standard vacation candy bread, to incorporate in his package deal. She did so and in addition included her torte, the Peccato di Gola.

To her shock, she quickly acquired a handwritten letter from Pope John Paul II thanking her personally for the delicious dessert. The Peccato di Gola quickly turned a fixture within the packages despatched from Loreto to the Vatican. 

When the pope got here to Loreto on the subsequent event for his 83rd birthday, the Picchio pastry store had the glory of baking his cake. 

pope John Paul ii pastry shop
Elizabetta?€™s grandchildren greet the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, earlier than presenting him along with his birthday cake.

Photograph courtesy of Photograph Courtesy of Il Picchio pastry store

Throughout Pope Benedict’s papacy, the Picchio household continued sending their desserts right down to Rome. When he, too, got here to Loreto to rejoice his birthday, as soon as once more, Il Picchio had the glory of baking his cake. 

They collaborated with an knowledgeable in historic recipes to create one thing actually exceptional. He turned to the writings of St. Hildegard of Bingen, a Twelfth-century, erudite nun from Bavaria (the pope’s native area). Among the many many subjects she wrote about, she described a Bavarian torte. With that description, Il Picchio recreated the historic dessert. When it was introduced to Pope Benedict, he was visibly impressed by their creativity. 

Pope Benedict pastry
Elisabetta Picchio presents Pope Benedict along with his birthday cake.

Photograph courtesy of Il Picchio pastry store

Elisabetta additionally gave the pope one among their freshly baked tortes, Il Peccato di Gola. In a homily the next Sunday after the papal go to, the archbishop of Loreto stated that Pope Benedict, whereas tasting the awkwardly named dessert, “the sin of gluttony,” commented that one thing so tasty couldn’t be a sin. Maybe that quip planted a seed in Elisabetta’s thoughts. She would rename it. 

Throughout Pope Francis’s hold forth, Elisabetta lastly determined to alter the title. She needed to name it, Il Dolce del Papa (the Pope’s Torte). Nonetheless, she felt it presumptuous to take action on her personal accord. So she wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking his permission. To her delight, he responded with a letter granting her his consent.

Elisabetta Picchio is a exceptional girl. As she appears to be like again on her life, she does so with deep gratitude. She realizes she has been graced in numerous methods. 

Elisabetta Picchio
Elisabetta Picchio

Photograph courtesy of Bret Thoman