Strolling around Monte Sant’Angelo, there are many shops with lovely religious trinkets featuring St. Michael and Padre Pio – actually, it’s St. Pio now. (Must keep up with my saints here.) Statuettes, rosaries, snow globes, calendars, plates and much more.
However, I was curious about all the little stacked plastic boxes, with signs for Ostie Ripiene. Two euro a box, or five euros for three! Ostie, I thought. Communion wafers? Surely not…… but yes! This is a pilgrimage destination, after all. The “Ostie Ripiene” are a dessert made of sugar-glazed roasted almonds, sometimes with a bit of cinnamon, sandwiched in between two communion wafers.
” …..This caramelized sweet cake contains a bit of honey. It is a crunchy and tasty treat that is said to have been made originally by the nuns of the Trinity Monastery of St. Clare.” A popular souvenir, it seems.
I asked whether the large or small ostie were more typical; both, the seller said. So I bought a few of each, thinking they might be fragile but would survive the heat.
When back in Rome, I discovered that the wafers were intact, but the almonds and caramels had melted and slid to one side. The honey is not holding up well in the heat. Still, I think my neighbour will be happy for her box of ostie ripiene.