After the month-long festivities to celebrate Santa Lucia, then Christmas, New Year’s Eve and finally la Befana (don’t know who La Befana is? click here and read my last blog post) you would probably expect me to say that things were starting to quieten down and for this frigid winter to be tightening its icy grip. If only! We’re now starting to revv up for Carnevale!
Find out more about the Carnevale di Venezia, which officially starts on Jan 27th this year and runs until Shrove Tuesday, on the official website here.
I also heartily recommend checking out the Venice Insider website which has painstakingly listed all of this year’s events and much of the history.
Anyway, this morning, coming back from a meeting to decide upon a new marble staircase for the house (yay!) I popped into my local bakery for a caffè-brioche and saw these on the counter….
Frittelle, fritole or fritoe (depending on which accent or dialect you’re speaking with) are small, fried balls of dough. They’re about the size of a walnut but it’s quite easy to tell that these particular ones have been handmade because they are all different shapes and sizes. At my bakery, there was the choice of frittelle studded with raisins (uvette) or filled with pastry cream. In other parts, I’ve seen apple and pine nut frittelle as well as with lemon peel or chestnuts. Once they come out of the oven, they get generously sprinkled with sugar (just as you would with a doughnut) and are best eaten still slightly warm.
Like most things in Italy, there’s a certain time and place for everything and even these (otherwise pretty nondescript) treats are actually highly seasonal. The one and only season for frittelle, as you may have guessed, is during Carnevale.
If you want to try your hand at making them, the recipe on “I Love You More Than Food” looks solid but I admit that I haven’t tried it. Link here. Good luck!