What do Italians eat during Carnevale?
This article made me realize just how varied Italian food is even during the Carnival season and inspired me to put together a collection of traditional sweets cooked all around Italy.
Do you want to have an Italian-inspired Carnival meal? Come with me on a tour through Italy’s most delicious Carnival desserts.
Chiacchiere are not just a simple dessert. Chiacchiere are everyone’s dessert during Carnevale.
As soon as the Carnival season kicks-off, you see them everywhere. You eat them everywhere.
These ribbon-like pastries made of dough are deep-fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The funny thing about chiacchiere is that every region seems to claim them as their own, hence why their name change from region to region. In Liguria they are known as bugie (lies) and some says it’s because you never tell the truth about how many of them you eat.
In Lombardia they are called lattughe (lettuce), while Tuscans have named them cenci (rags). Romans call them frappe, along with people living in Umbria.
Chiacchiere, bugie, lattughe, cenci, galàni, frappe… it doesn’t really matter how you call them as long as they are on your Carnival menu.
The way chiacchiere are cooked varies slightly from house to house and ingredients are mostly the same: farina (flour), uova (eggs), burro (butter), zucchero (sugar) and olio vegetale (vegetable oil) to fry.
FIACÀ – PIEMONTE
Small and sweet focaccias, also known as “schiacciatine”. Originally from Biella, a town in the Piedmont region.
ZALETI – VENETO
Crunchy yet soft at the same time, zaleti are the perfect on-the-go Carnival treat.
The name “zaleti” is a reference to their yellow color, since zaleti stands for “gialletti” in Venetian dialect, meaning the little yellow ones.
The main characteristic of these corn cookies is their diamond shape.
CASTAGNOLE – MARCHE & LIGURIA
Castagnole got their name from their size and shape which resembles a “castagna”, chestnut.
These small, soft balls can be either fried in boiling oil or baked, even though the former is way more common than the latter.
SCHIACCIATA ALLA FIORENTINA – TOSCANA
Tuscany contributes to the Carnival season with its own very unique cake. The sweet aroma of vanilla and orange will quickly fill your house once you prepare it.
Remarkable details: the symbol of the city of Florence adorns the top of the cake, dusted with powdered cocoa.
CAUCIUNI – MOLISE
Not the easiest dessert to pronounce, but definitely an unmissable one.
Here’s what’s behind this fancy name: sweet ravioli filled with chestnuts, almonds, chocolate, vanilla, cooked wine musts, and cinnamon. Heaven, right?
ZEPPOLE DI SAN GIUSEPPE – CAMPANIA
Zeppole are mostly cooked (or fried) in the kitchens of Southern Italians. Filled with thick cream, they can be topped off with cherry syrup, jam, or chocolate.
Even though zeppole were originally a Carnival-only tradition, nowadays they’re being served year-round.
PRUPATE – PUGLIA
Prupate look like wedding rings because they used to be served at weddings. Each guest would usually receive a couple of them during the ceremony. The reason? Apparently, prupate would bring good luck to the newlyweds as they were believed to be the symbol of a long life together.
And they lived happily ever after… munching on prupate! Sounds good to me.
TARALLI AL NASPRO – BASILICATA
Unlike the majority of Carnival sweets, which are fried, in the Basilicata area people bake in the oven these sweet taralli al nastro.
These taralli, covered with icing sugar and lemon, are sure to steal your heart.
CASSATINE DI CARNEVALE CLASSICHE – SICILIA
You already know about ‘cassata’, right? You’re seriously missing out if you don’t! Cassata, made with sweet ricotta and almond paste, is arguably the most famous sweet of Sicily.
Cassatine are just a mini-version of it. Delicious little cakes moistened with fruit juices or liqueur. You are drooling. I see you.
CATTAS or ZIPPULAS – SARDEGNA
Time to move to the lower part of the Italian “boot”.
Sardinians savor the so-called cattas (or zippulas) during this time of the year. These spiral-shaped fritters are flavoured with wonderful aromas, such as orange zest, saffron or mandarin.
That’s a wrap! We’ve come to the end of our tour. Did you enjoy it? Don’t hesitate to let me know! Tweet me @ or leave a comment below.
I’ve created a neat map of the sweets covered in this article. Grab it and spread it like Nutella. Share it with your foodie friends, Italy lovers, Carnevale freaks.
Italian Carnevale Desserts
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Credits: giallozafferano, dissapore, instagram.