Place of originItaly
Region or stateSiena
Main ingredientsAnise seeds, almonds, candied fruits, coriander, flour, Tuscan millefiori honey

Cavallucci is a rich Italian Christmas pastry prepared with anise, walnuts, candied fruits, coriander, and flour. They are Sienese in origin, and the name translates approximately to "little horses".[1] The chewy biscuits traditionally use Tuscan millefiori honey as an essential ingredient in the dough.


The cookies were originally imprinted with the image of a horse (cavalli is the Italian term for horses).[2] The cookies sold today are a gentrified version of a pastry which is traceable to the reign of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449–1492), when they were called biriquocoli.[3]

Many hypotheses are associated with the origin of its name. According to the most popular version of the story, cavallucci were served to travelers on horseback as a source of nourishment for long trips.[3] Along a similar vein, another speculation is that postal workers who delivered mail over long distances ate the cookies on a regular basis.[1] Additionally surmised is that these sweets were the usual snack of servants who worked in horse stables of rich Italian aristocrats in Siena, a city which gained its fame for horse racing.


The pastry is often paired with sweet dessert wines, such as Vin Santo, and dipped into the wine before being eaten.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Cavallucci". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  2. ^ Esposito, Mary Ann. "Horsemen's Cookies". Ciao Italia. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Christmas cakes and sweets in Tuscany". Turismo in Toscana. Regione Toscana. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.