Romagna’s carnival sweets

Carnival, literally “carnem levare”, which stands for “without meat” is traditionally the celebration that precedes the long period of abstinence and fasting for the Easter Lent. And like any celebration that introduces an austere period, Carnival is made to exaggerate, celebrate and interrupt our daily behavioural and eating habits. And then, since weight problems are as far away as summer and the atmosphere is full of the right spirit, why not let yourself go to some sins of gluttony? A sweet interlude in the middle of the cold winter, a dip into the culinary delights with thousand nuances of taste.

Here below I have collected some Carnival sweets recipes; these are of course traditional preparations, but you can find them all over Italy in many different variations and names; Carnival is in fact a festivity of ancient origin, linked to the cycle of seasons, and maybe you didn’t know that many of its uses and culinary traditions are more widespread than people think. But now let’s arm ourselves with flour, oil, eggs and sugar and set sail in this sea of sweetness, discovering the best Carnival sweets recipes.

Carnival Chiacchiere
They are among the most classic carnival sweets and are well known all over Italy with different names. Food experts say that these sweets have Roman origins, but every region and every city of Italy claims to itself the invention of this fantastic and tasty recipe. The Chiacchiere, really loved by children for the icing sugar that gives them a special taste, are certainly one of the sweets that can not miss on a Carnival table.

Carnival Rice fritters 
They are part of what is commonly called “poor cuisine” and are originally from Romagna (some people also say that they are typical of Ravenna). The chronicles tell that one time in Romagna, rice was cooked inside milk and the leftovers were recovered to make these excellent sweets. Tradition or not, all recipes indicate that in the dough you must add a drop of Grappa or Marsala and that the sweet should be served warm. It is at your discretion whether to use lard or oil.

Carnival Sweet tagliatelle 
Who knew that one of the dishes that symbolizes our region could also be an excellent dessert? Tradition wants them to be prepared like the usual tagliatelle, but sprinkling the freshly pulled dough with sugar and lemon or orange juice. Then, they must be fried and eaten in rolls, just to make them lighter… and tasty!

Carnival Intrigoni 
Typical of the Reggiano area, they do not differ much from the Bolognese Sfrappole. On the cutting board, the dough should be made smooth and homogeneous and then pulled to obtain a thin sheet. Then, the whole must be cut with a small wheel-cutter to form little squares. The strips you get should be braided to form the so-called “intrigòun”.

Carnival Castagnole 
This Carnival sweets are proposed directly by Casa Artusi that describes them as a”special dish of Romagna, very popular during Carnival”. They are prepared by mixing bread, flour, eggs, lemon zest and a drop of brandy or cognac. Once the Castagnole are cooked, they should be sprinkled with powdered sugar and served warm with some cherries.

Carnival Sgionfini 
Typical of Parma, they literally mean“deflated” and are some kind of fried puffs filled with tasty cream. The recipe is very particular and requires you to boil the water with butter and salt inside, adding flour until the whole becomes as dense as a paste. At that point you need to add eggs, sugar, lemon zest and then, of course, fry everything. At the end the puffs should be filled with cream.

And now tell me, which one bof these delicious treats is your favorite?


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