Georgia Spanos’s Turdilli di Vino

These deep-fried, honey-soaked and wine-laden pastry bites are native to the Calabrian region of Italy where Georgia’s nonna grew up. Temper the sweetness by serving with a strong black coffee or a bitter apertif.


  • 310 millilitres merlot wine

  • 190 millilitres olive oil

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Pinch of salt

  • 525 grams plain flour, sifted

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • 350 grams honey


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the wine and olive oil to the boil, then remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in the egg and salt, then gradually sift the flour into the mixture. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured working surface and knead for 5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, knead through additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it’s pliable.

  4. Roll the mixture into logs the thickness of your thumb, then cut into 5cm long pieces.

  5. Using your index finger and your middle finger, apply a small amount of pressure to the middle of each piece while simultaneously rolling your fingers down to create a little pocket on each piece.

  6. Heat vegetable oil (enough for deep frying) in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. To test if the oil is hot, drop a small amount of the dough into the oil — if it starts to fry immediately, the oil is ready.

  7. Depending on the size of your pan, fry up to 20 pieces at a time for approx. 3 minutes, or until they turn a dark purplish brown, stirring every 20 seconds.

  8. Drain the cooked turdilli over a rack or on paper 

  9. When the turdilli are all cooked, warm the honey in a large saucepan over low heat until softened (shouldn’t take more than a minute).

  10. Add the fried turdilli to the honey and toss until they are completely covered.


  • Makes 85 to 90 pieces.

  • Best eaten fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Illustration by James Fox Rogers.

Illustration by James Fox Rogers.