One sweet, many names

 

That it is a sweet, it is clear to all. That it is good, also. It can be fried or backed in the oven and it is typically prepared in Carnival period. Its origins go back to the ancient Rome, when it was named frictilia, because it was fried in lard during Saturnalia period (Carnival, even if Saturnalia were in December). Why for Carnival? Because in ancient times pigs were slaughtered at the beginning of the year and so there was great abundance of fat, ideal to fry this rectangular, or sometimes knotted on herself, pasta, named in different ways depending on the places of Italy where it is prepared and eaten. Moreover, Carnival foreruns Lent, quite a rigid period from the food point of view, so abounding with this sweet, and with fried in general, was considered a sort of balance to the following sacrifices.

This sweet can be consumed as it is, or seasoned with powdered sugar, chocolate, alkermes, honey. Over time the recipe has been changed many times, especially for food or diet needs. There are variations cooked in oil instead in fat or, as previously said, baked in the oven. Moreover, it can be used whole wheat instead of the white one and there are recipes for vegans and people suffering from celiac disease. For the first ones, this, no more fat, butter and eggs, but potato flour and extra virgin oil; for the second ones it can be used a gluten-free flour. As previously said, this sweet is known with different names in many places in Italy.

The most common is chiacchiere, used mainly in the Center and South of the peninsula (in Basilicata, Sicily, Campania, Lazio, south Abruzzo, Molise, Umbria, Puglia, Calabria, Sassari and Parma), with some exceptions in Massa, Carrara, Mian and La Spezia. In Naples they are named like that because the Queen of Savoia talked so much that a chef of hers gave this name to this sweet so appreciated by her. In Genoa, Turin, Asti, Imperia, Savona they are called bugie (from Ligurian böxie), cenci or crogetti in Prato and Florence, where the name recalls the shred, the remnant. Of latin derivation (crustulum, sugar almond, cookie or donut), are cróstoli or gròstoi or grustal, in Imperia, Rovigo, Vicenza, Treviso, in Trentino and Venezia Giulia, crostui in Friuli and sprelle (crispus,wrikled) of Piacenza. Fiocchetti in Montefeltro (Marche) and Rimini (Emilia Romagna), due to the shape that sometimes is given to the sweet: no more a rectangular and flat stripe of pasta, but knotted on herself. 

In Rome, Viterbo, Perugia and Ancona they are called frappe, from the ancient French term frappe, which means fringe (the indented borders of this sweet), sfrappe in Marche, sfrappole in Bologna. Galani in Venice, from the Spanish term gala, used also by Carlo Goldoni to indicate an embellishment, a bow to wear in frivolous occasions. Among these names, then, there are Sardinian meraviglias, name probably of Spanish origin that identifies this beautiful sweet.

To taste Carnival, emerge yourself in the taste of Italy's thousand colors. Italian Traditions takes you to the best restaurants with the IT5 of the week.