At the time when grapes and quinces ripened, the ladies of Dubrovnik prepared sweet delicacies, which were kept in cupboards and served on Saint Nicolas Day, Saint Lucy’s Day, at Christmas and New Year, until the Festival of St Blaise. They included kontonjata (quince cheese) and red and brown mantala (must cheese) served with a glass of rose petal liqueur (rozolin), dried figgs offered with a glass of brandy, and the fragrant and luscious home-made arancini, the candied sour and sweet orange peel.
When preparing arancini – whose aroma will remind you of your stay in Dubrovnik, the UNESCO heritage site – try to obtain chemical-free oranges, preferably the Dubrovnik sour oranges which adorn our renaissance gardens.
Arancini (candied orange, grapefruit or lemon peel)
Cut 1 kg of orange peel into long strips and put to soak in water for 6 days; water should be changed every day. Strain the peel and weigh, then put in water to boil. When half soft, add the equivalent weight in sugar. Boil until the liquid thickens. Remove the peel and while hot roll them in crystal sugar. Leave to dry for several days.