Ladies & Gentlemen, it’s Carnevale time! Carnevale (pronounced “car-nay-vah-lay“) is a holiday period which takes place in Italy before lent. It involves parties, parades, costumes, and fried food! Traditionally, it was a way to “live it up”, have fun, and eat lots of crap before the good Catholics buckled down for the religious lent period before Easter. It’s celebrated in various countries, but being that this blog is Italy-focused, I’ll be talking about Italian Carnevale (duh!). More specifically, I’ll be focusing on Italian Carnevale food. Yum! Yum!
The first and most popular Italian Carnevale treat are these strips of crispy fried dough. In fact, they’re so well-loved that you can even become a fan of them on Facebook! They’re covered in sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate, rainbow sprinkles, or other such sweet decorations. In Bologna (where I first learned about these delicious delicacies) they’re called “sfrappole“, while here in Milan they’re called “chiacchiere“. Other parts of Italy have other names for them like “galani” (Venice), “frappe” (Rome), and “cenci” (Tuscany).
Another great Carnevale food is called “tortelli” or “castagnole“. They’re soft, fried, dough balls filled with cream and rolled in sugar. I know, I know… how friggin’ good, right? And let me tell you, if you’re ever fortunate enough to get fresh ones at the pastry shop that are still piping hot… boy howdy!
Yet another sinfully good Carnevale treat is called “ravioli dolci” (sweet ravioli) which are festive little squares of dough (fried of course) that are then filled with marmalade, or chocolate, or cream and then covered in powdered sugar, just for good measure! (I think I have to do 3 hours of aerobics at the gym tomorrow just for writing that last sentence!)
If you haven’t caught on to the trend by now, Italian Carnevale food is fried and sugary – good tasting, but not so good for you.
To wrap things up today, here below is a photo that I took myself of a tray full of Italian Carnevale treats (for the record, these guys disappeared immediately after the photo was taken… I did have some help though!)