These biscuits made during the Lent time are sweets of ancient tradition, produced by mixing sugar, water and almond paste. They are packaged in the form of small donuts and decorated with icing and sarsaparilla or devils (tiny beads of sugar sprinkles and gold and different colors).
Quaresimali were made for the first time by nuns in a convent in Genoa: they wanted to enforce the abstinence during the 'lean' days without breaking the religious rules. Although they look attractive and delicious, these sweet have very little fat. Indeed the almond paste, the main ingredient, has had an important value in the city for centuries and, in the 18th century, was on the menus of noble families around Liguria. The use of sweet almonds, peel and sugar comes from the Arab-Persian tradition.