When I was in Pistoia, my lovely friend Michela took me to a fabulous sweet shop called Le Golosita di Pratesi Marilena. It sells all kinds of delicious things to eat and drink, including chocolates by Roberto Catinari, a famous son of Pistoia.
They have a small supply of marmalade made by cloistered nuns. It is made from wild oranges that grow inside the cloister. The oranges are plucked, washed and grated one by one to eliminate the part of the skin from which essential oil is made.
The oranges are cut in half and the seeds taken out. Pectin is made from these and later added to the marmalade to thicken it. The halved oranges are kept in water for 3 days, changing the water 3 times a day. At the end if the third day they are boiled for 45 minutes. They are drained and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Then they are chopped and mixed with the pectin and equal parts of sugar. (For 1 kilo of oranges, 1 kilo of sugar) The mixture is cooked and put in airtight sterilised jars. They are boiled again to vacuum seal them.
Everything takes place within the cloister.
Of course I had to buy a jar. I can report that it is excellent. I could see the nuns hard at work while I was enjoying it.
Next on my list to try are the figs in Vin Santo made nearby. On my next trip Michela is going to take us to the winery where the Vin Santo is made…there will be a report.
If you go to Pistoia you really must visit Le Golosita di Pratesi Marilena in Via Roma 28. I dare you to come out empty handed.