Taralli are small, unleavened bread rings that are a typical snack food throughout southern Italy, especially in the Greek-settled region of Apulia (Ἀπουλία), more commonly known as Puglia.
There are numerous theories as to their origins, but what is certain is that they originate from Regione Puglia before being adopted into Neapolitan cuisine around the 1700s.
When food shortages and widespread hunger-induced, bakers preserve the remains of the dough used to make bread. At this time, it was a poor man’s food, but nutritious and economical.
Its name is derived from the Greek “daratos,” meaning “sort of bread.”
Furthermore, according to ancient Greek and Roman written sources and archaeological evidence, their origins may be traced back to an ancient tradition of offering bread to the Hellenistic goddesses Demeter and Persephone.
This is best witnessed in archaeological findings from the Sanctuary of Monte Papalucio (Oria, Puglia), where carbonized taralli were excavated from a deposit used initially to present votive offerings to both Greek goddesses.