I was born and raised in Liguria but half of my family comes from Piemonte.
My mom was born in Sale delle Langhe (a tiny village that carries the name of a fancy tourist destination for foodies but doesn’t have anything to do with it) and one of her sisters lives in Mondovì, a town located between the mountains and the plains, 80 kilometers south of Turin.
This means that our family cuisine has multiple influences: there is a bit of Liguria, especially that of the inland, a bit of the Langhe, and a bit of Monregalese, which is the name of the area where Mondovì is located. I have always loved this unique mix of influences because that makes our family dinners really special.
My aunt, the one that lives in Mondovì, is really good at cooking and she is also the one who has been so forward-looking as to write down a few of the recipes of my grandma’s best dishes. As I wrote in another post of mine about family recipes, my grandma passed away suddenly and took most of her recipes with her.
The recipe I want to tell you about today, though, doesn’t have anything to do with my grandma. It is a recipe that comes from Mondovì and my aunt has learned how to prepare it when she moved there after getting married. Ever since I can remember, my aunt has been making this delicacy – and has always gifted it to me, obviously!
The recipe I am referring to is that for the cupete piemontesi. It is important to specify that this is the recipe for the cupete piemontesi because there are many other versions of this sweet around Italy which are way different from the one I am writing about today. If you google the word cupeta, you’d most certainly find multiple links to the almond brittle that comes from Apulia.
But the cupeta piemontese is a bit different. It is a brittle made with honey, walnuts, and hazelnuts placed between two hosts or wafers, like the ones you get in Catholic churches at the holy communion but bigger. They are basically sweet sandwiches that sometimes tend to stick on the top of your mouth (but they are delicious, believe me!).
Just like other types of cupete around Italy, they come from the qubbaita, which has been brought to Italy by the Arabic invaders in the X century. Cupeta can be found all year round but it is more common to have it in winter and it is something you either buy or prepare to give as a Christmas present.
In fact, my aunt prepares them every year and brings them to our Christmas lunch, so that we can have a cupeta with coffee and bring the rest home to enjoy during the Christmas holidays. It is a very unique type of sweet, so you might not like it, but here is the recipe in case you want to try it (it’s super easy!).
Ingredients for 12 cupete:
24 hosts (the diameter needs to be 8 cm)
100 grams of honey
120 grams of walnuts and hazelnuts
Melt the honey making sure it doesn’t get caramelized and then add walnuts and hazelnuts (the number of hazelnuts needs to be two-thirds of that of walnuts). The ingredients will blend very quickly, so remove the mixture from the fire as soon as the honey gets dark. The most important thing is not to overcook the honey because it can get really sour.
Use a spoon to place a bit of the mixture over one host and cover with another one. Use something really heavy to press the cupete down (In the past, ladies would use an old iron) and let them rest under this weight for at least a couple of hours so that the honey solidifies and the cupete are ready!
I do not have a picture of cupete but you can find some in this article.