Macedonia, a classic Italian recipe from the Artusi cookbook

First of all, Italian macedonia is a preparation of raw mixed fruit and a super Italian classic recipe, which can also be done with winter or summer fruit.

Same it is not only a fruit salad made with chopped, seasonal, fresh fruit. Usually find it flavored with sugar, or/and fresh lemon juice, or/and a bit of liqueurs/wine as vodka, rum, prosecco or red wine. Lastly served with gelato or Greek yogurt.

Macedonia, a classic Italian recipe from the Artusi cookbook

Its origin

Therefore the term has nothing to do with food nor with fruit. Let us begin by saying that originally this was mostly a vegetable dish and the Italian word is a translation from the French macédoine.

It presumably appeared first in the Cuciniera piemontese  (1815), adapted from the French cookbook Le cuisinier guascon (1740). In the Italian version, two recipes appeared and in both cases macedonia was a mix of diced vegetables, boiled and served with butter or a dressing. Which nowadays it’s called Insalata Russa and it’s a totally different story.

Hence where does the actual macedonia (or macédoine) comes from?

In conclusion reading an Italian dictionary, you find the etymology: from the French macédoine, Macedonian, probably referring to the diversity of ethnicities in the Macedonian Empire (it refers to Europe before 1st World War).

Pellegrino Artusi’s macedonia

Toward the end of the eighteen hundreds, the famous Italian food writer Pellegrino Artusi in his La scienza in cucina (1891), presented only one macedonia dish. In addition he declared: “I’d call this with the folk name of mixed fruit in ice, which shall be especially enjoyed in the hot summer months of July and August”.

Thus Artusi was the only one who tried to give an Italian name to the dish. But what stuck in the common use was the name macedonia, which first appeared in an Italian dictionary in 1918.

In the past few years macedonia’s fate took a strange turn. This fruit salad went from being in every Italian restaurant menu, to disappearing from all of them. You’d ask for a macedonia in a restaurant and you been recommended a pineapple slice!

Which is even more absurd because this dish has become so much part of the Italian families diet. And of course in Italy we have all sorts of fruit available all year around.

But it looks like macedonia has found her way in from the back door, by just changing its name! She introduced itself in its American uncle’s outfit, and started calling itself “fruit salad”.

Macedonia, a classic Italian recipe from the Artusi cookbook

Homemade macedonia 

One of the best things of Summer are outdoor merenda or dinner with friends.
You get to set up a beautiful terrace or garden patio.

Light some candles and set up the table close to your herb garden, next to the vegetable garden you planted in the spring.

My favorite style is: simplicity, with a special touch. Sometimes the special touch is an elaborated dish that required a long preparation, or a beautiful rare flower I found. Sometimes it’s a place holder.

Macedonia, a classic Italian recipe from the Artusi cookbook

A special macedonia style

In conclusion macedonia is a simple recipe, seasonal, full of scents and colors. It’s so easy to make and affordable to anybody. Mainly watermelon, melon, berry, apricot, peach, pear with sugar and lemon juice dressing but also at natural. Who wouldn’t love a big, gorgeous fruit salad anytime of year… but in the summer the fruits are sweeter and full of colors and eating by the bowl full just feels right.

We could just make it special by presenting it in a different way. How?

Good fruit and some ideas!

  • Large round watermelons can become a large bowl for many people;
  • Outdoor dining: serve your macedonia in glass preserve jars: you can serve them with the lid on. Put some yogurt at the bottom, for a parfait style!
  • For picnic basket, make a macedonia-to-go in glass jars. In this case don’t add the yogurt in. It’s going to make your jar ugly and dirty. I’d rather bring the yogurt on a side and add it last second for those who want some.
  • Instead of a spoon, use a cute wooden kebob stick, so that each guests can pick out their favorite pieces.
  • If you add wine or liqueur, remember also some colorful straws (I adore the paper ones).
  • Use some mint leaves for a beautifully scented dessert.
  • If macedonia is going to be your dessert, serve it with gelato or greek yogurt.
  • Choose the fruit you like the most: grapes, cantaloupe, berries, strawberries, apricots…

Et voilà, le jeux sont fait!


Macedonia, a classic Italian recipe from the Artusi cookbook


serves 2

baby watermelon or little melon, 1
peach, 1
1 crunchy pear
2 red plum
some berries


Use baby watermelon or cantaloupe/melon peel halves as cups.

Clean and dry fruits and cut into little cubes, also melon and watermelon pulps.

Fill up your cups and enjoy!



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