Siena is a land of art, culture, and ancient, extraordinary confections, which are the direct expressions of its history. For a while now the Masoni company has been working towards having the well-deserved value of these products acknowledged, and to preserve them through a production that aims for the highest quality. After years of efforts, with a journey started in 2004, and with the help of the Sienese institutions which, along with the entire local community, are proud of such old and prestigious traditions, in 2010 the “Ricciarelli di Siena” have been finally acknowledged as the first - and so far only - Italian baked confectionery product deserving of the “Indicazione Geografica Protetta” (I.G.P.) [Protected Geographical Indication], although distribution could not become operative at once.Thanks to the geographical indication, the use of natural and selected ingredients, such as almonds (which Masoni has been using since the very beginning) has become mandatory, whereas until now the use of apricot kernels, with a similar flavour but considerably cheaper, was tolerated; the recipe is then enriched by sugar and hen’s egg white.The Sienese Ricciarello is shaped like a slightly elliptical diamond and its white surface is scattered with cracks and covered in icing sugar, with a consistency that is soft but not crumbly. Marzipan was imported in ancient times most likely from the East, and soon became the most renowned delicacy of Sienese gastronomy.Marzipans were never missing during official banquets; on the occasion of particularly important guests attending, they’d be decorated with extremely thin gold foil, produced by those very same “battiloro” [goldbeaters] who worked the precious metal for Sienese painters in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. At first, the marzipans produced in convents or apothecary workshops were called “marzapanetti alla senese” [small marzipans prepared in the Sienese manner] or “morzelletti”, and were sold wrapped up in paper bearing the image of two winged horses (the original work can be found in Volterra’s archaeological Etruscan museum). The name “Ricciarello” was introduced in the 1800s, perhaps in honour of Ricciardetto della Gherardesca, a crusader who, as told by the Sienese comedy writer Parige, upon his return to Siena introduced the use of certain Arabic pastries that resembled the curled toe slippers worn by Sultans.The deep bond that ties Siena to its confectionery products and the desire to support the businesses related to their production are the foundations for “Dulcis in Siena”, a project that promotes, preserves and supports this industry. Therefore, from now on, people all over Italy and the world will be able to taste the authentic Ricciarello di Siena IGP: this is a truly essential achievement because it brings together and strengthens the combination between quality and excellence of local products and the territory. Panforte too is set on a path that should finally reward this iconic Sienese product with IGP recognition as well, thus strengthening even more the confectionery tradition of the city of Siena.Masoni has been pursuing its search for quality by joining Assocantuccini, which gathers thirteen producers of Cantuccini Toscani alle Mandorle [Tuscan Almond Cantuccini], with the aim of preserving and promoting one of the region’s characteristic biscuits, boasting a centuries-old tradition, with origins dating back to the 16th century.This association aims at preserving the manufacturing tradition and the quality of choice ingredients while spreading these high quality products all over the world. Such associations between local enterprises are very important because they show the unity of purpose towards the promotion of local and traditional products, while attempting to limit the diffusion of imitations and counterfeits, which are possible in this age of globalization, always in the name of quality and customer care.